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A. Brief background on Bharti Kher and her art
Bharti Kher is a contemporary artist from India, known for her thought-provoking and unconventional artwork. Born in London in 1969, Kher spent her formative years in India and received her formal art education at the Newcastle Polytechnic in the UK.
Kher uses a range of media in his art, including sculpture, painting, and installation. She often uses found objects and materials in her work, such as bindis (decorative forehead stickers worn by women in South Asia), saris, and animal parts.
Her work is renowned for tackling more general challenges of globalisation and consumer culture as well as themes of identity, gender, and cultural hybridity. Kher’s work often incorporates a mix of traditional Indian motifs and contemporary imagery, creating a dialogue between the past and present.
Kher’s work has been exhibited in several locations, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Tate Modern in London, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul. She is considered as one of India’s top painters of her age and has received several honours and medals for her work.
B. The significance of bindis in Indian culture
Bindis are decorative forehead stickers worn by women in Indian culture.The Sanskrit word “bindu,” which meaning “dot” or “point,” is where the term “bindi” originates. Women typically wear bindis as a sign of their marital status and good fortune.
In Hinduism, the bindi represents the third eye or the sixth chakra, which is believed to be the center of intuition, wisdom, and spiritual insight. The bindi is also associated with the goddess Parvati, who is often depicted with a red dot on her forehead.
Bindis are made from different materials, including sandalwood paste, turmeric, and vermilion powder. They are used frequently to enhance a woman’s beauty and are available in a range of hues and forms.
The bindi has recently gained popularity among ladies all over the world as a fashion item and has been incorporated into current beauty and fashion trends.But, it’s crucial to acknowledge and respect the bindi’s cultural importance in Indian culture and avoid appropriating it without appreciating its value and context.
II. Bharti Kher's use of bindis in her art
A. Description of Kher's artwork that feature bindis
Bharti Kher’s artwork often features bindis, which she uses as a symbol to explore themes of identity, femininity, and cultural hybridity. One of her most well-known works is the series of bindi paintings titled “The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own,” created in 2006.
These paintings consist of large-scale canvases covered in thousands of bindis arranged in intricate patterns and designs. The bindis are used to create a textured surface that appears almost like skin, suggesting the complex and layered nature of identity.
In other works, Kher incorporates bindis into sculptures and installations. For example, in her sculpture “The Hot Winds that Blow from the West” (2007), Kher created a life-size elephant covered in bindis, challenging traditional ideas of masculinity and femininity.
In “An Absence of Assignable Cause” (2011), Kher created a large-scale installation using over 4,000 bindis, suspended from the ceiling like a swirling vortex. The installation suggests the interconnectedness of all things and the impermanence of identity.
Through her use of bindis, Kher explores the intersections between tradition and modernity, East and West, and challenges the viewer to question their assumptions about identity and cultural stereotypes.
B. Explanation of Kher's creative process and inspiration
Kher’s creative process is also characterized by experimentation and a willingness to push the boundaries of traditional artistic techniques and mediums. She often works across different mediums, combining sculpture, painting, and installation to create works that challenge conventional ideas of form and composition.
In addition to her artistic practice, Kher is also deeply committed to social and political issues, particularly those related to gender and identity. Her artwork often engages with these themes, reflecting her broader commitment to social justice and equality.
Independent Artist | MFA | Graphics | Visual Arts | Print Making