Article on “The Pill”

New-age art celebrates 50 years of the pill

An art project will celebrate 40 years of contraceptive tablets by featuring works of Indian and international contemporary artists

In the age of fast clover, multiple relationships and early maturity, the ‘pill’ or the oral contraceptive has become the woman’s most intimate friend. And a first of its kind art project, featuring works by leading contemporary Indian and international artists will celebrate 50 years of the pill in the Capital.

The exposition beginning January 22 will try to bring out the dilemma and the debate surrounding the pill. It includes works by artists like Abir Karmakat, Ayesha Duarri, Jaishiri Abeichandani, Kaif Gharnavi, Mithu Sen, Nandita Kumar, Sarnath Banerjee, Swati Khurana, Tabeem Qayyum, Tushar Kag and Vito Tumbarello.

The pill is linked to the world-wide movement for women’s empowerment and debate by conservatives. The contraceptive pill was first approved as a birth control measure in the US in 1960. However, if found social acceptance a year later in 1961 and became a new age phenomenon.

And over 100 million women use it worldwide now, according to a study in the US. History cites that sporadic researchers in 1930s to synthesize plant hormones for a viable hormonal contraceptive bore fruitin 1969 when the US-based Food and the Drug Administration appproved Enovid 10, a contraceptive manufactured by Searle.

Pakistani artist Taxeem Qayyum’s mixed media installation It ‘s complicated uses 10 rubber bottles filled with varying degrees of hot water to represent the female body, which she says is “preciious and designed for comfortt.”

Two sculptures by New York-based artist Swati Khurana use pill boxes, bindis and embroidery hoops with drawings.

Christened Family Planning, it comments on reproduction and adornment.

Curator Avni Doshi said, “the pill, as an icon for the modern woman, has an exclusionary aspect in thta it presupposes a monogamous sexuality, performed by a man and a woman. A categorical acceptance of the pill as the most important discovery of the last century would not be compelling given the global dilemma created by many sexually transmitted diseases,” she said.

The expose will be presented by Delhi-based gallery Latitude 28 and will be on till Feb 15. “The showcase was an opinion in favour of women’s choice of freedom — reproductive, professinal and personal spheres of life. In India, the pill and the allied issues of sexuality that is raised are under layers. There is controversy about it as in the US. When curator Avni Doshi came to me with the concept. I felt we should talk about in in India,” said Bhavna Kaakar, Latitude 28 director.

Article on "The Pill"

Article on “The Pill”