Review of Solo Show at Chatterjee and Lal in DNA

Matrimonial art

From putting her bridal jewellery in cages to displaying love letters, artist Swati Khurana makes a unique statement through her art.

Riddhi Doshi

Swati Khurana is touted as one of the most promising young Indian artists in the international contemporary art scene. And now she is in Mumbai to show her fresh lot of art works.

Talking about the works she says, “As an Indian immigrant woman, my work explores gender, ethnicity and the seductive promise of rituals. Revisiting my large, traditional Hindu wedding composes a large part of my artistic practice, through video, sculpture, collages and drawings.” She adds, “I am showing for the first time Five Day Wedding — a large carousel pop-up book based on a series of collages I made a few years ago called Malabar Bride.” In this series Swati has digitally combined drawings of her own traditional Hindu wedding photos with images of sumptuous imperial architecture, ethnic-chic interior design and animal colouring books. She explains, “I contructed these collages to create disorienting spaces of captivity and domesticity for the figures of the bride as she is contained within interior spaces. In the new book, the viewer can walk into and engage with the interior spaces and characters that are trapped in that world.”

Another interesting work that she is displaying is Ten Years Later. Here, she looks at the myth-making in her own life. She has made a series of scupltures in which a decade of love letters written to and by her, her engagement ring and wedding jewellery are all suspended in bird cages. She adds, “And lastly, in the ongoing embroidery project Bridal Trousseau, I have made drawings that evoke my self-portrait as a bride along with other figures combined with different animals and environments on fabric.” She continues, “Without instruction, my maternal and paternal grandmothers (one lives in Pune, the other in New York) embroidered onto these drawings. My grandmothers became unintentional collaborators with me and each other, conversing on fabric through needle and thread. They worked on the pieces separately and also re-met each other a few days before the exhibition opening, after 30 years of not seeing each other!”

Review in DNA

Review in DNA