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Sculptures and Collages Explore Indian Womanhood

Bharti Kher uses bindis and saris to create stunning works of art.

The work of British-born, Delhi-based artist Bharti Kher spans sculpture, painting, and installation, but hybridity is a constant—cultural hybridity, as well as hybridity of genders, myth, and reality. Bindis and saris are recurring features of her work, and with them all the associations they carry of Indian womanhood.

“Kher changes the taxonomy of an object by rendering it abstract, and shifts its figuration and subject matter from rationality towards the realms of signs, symbolism, and conceptual thought,” art historian Sandhini Poddar says of Kher’s work. But while Kher creates art that’s complex and embedded with layers of symbolism, her work is also incredibly inviting. Resin sculptures of goddess-like figures, and collages of hundreds of bindis beg interaction and further investigation even from those who don’t know the cultural significance of the forms and mediums.

"Her work always seems quite distinctive, strong and often reliant on quite physical and tactile means both in content and in form. Partly because of the command she has of her materials and making, and partly because she brings a kind of poetry or abstraction to works that might appear quite real or representational,” Margaret Moore tells The Creators Project. Moore curated In Her Own Language, the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery’s recent survey exhibit of Kher’s work. "Her works encourage imagination in response, yet they are not alienating or obscure. They can also be physically beautiful, otherworldly and evocative."

Moore put careful effort into curating the exhibit, Kher’s first solo show in Australia. She "set out to make an exhibition that would encompass different aspects of her practice, and in some ways do justice to her breadth, eclecticism and key interests… I wanted it to have substance, content and yet sit elegantly in the space.” Find more images from In Her Own Language below.

Bharti Kher’s Six Women is exhibited in the Sydney Bienniale until June 5th.

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