Women artists push gender boundaries in ′Facing India′ | Arts | DW | 07.05.2018
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Women artists push gender boundaries in 'Facing India'

Life is tough for women in India. At the Wolfsburg art museum, six female artists give visitors a glimpse as to how they see their country in "Facing India," a show of protest against India's patriarchal society.

These days, women in colorful saris populate the generally more drab shopping streets in the German city of Wolfsburg, the hometown of the Volkswagen automobile company. Hindu scriptures and goddesses are the talk of the town for once, rather than the VW emissions scandal.

Femininity and feminism are the focus at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg's new exhibition, "Facing India." Six female artists examine the role of women in their native country in the 21st century, caught between tradition and progress.

Crossing boundaries

Boundaries and crossing boundaries are themes mirrored by most of the show's 94 multimedia exhibits. A pluralistic society like India's is predestined to have to deal with boundaries, says one of the six artists, Reena Saini Kallat., adding that boundaries are essential in creating identities.

 bronze figure, squatting, with no head but veins coming our of the neck (Bharti Kher/Perrotin)

Bharti Kher's "And all the while the benevolent slept"

Crusade against censorship

The show offers a fascinating glimpse into India as seen from a woman's point of view – an approach rarely experienced in the west. No matter that men and women are equal before the law, women's role remains to be a touchy topic in India, where women are still often treated like second-class citizens.

"Facing India" is a snapshot of social change in India as it moves along on the path from emerging country to world power. Still patronized and underprivileged, India's women are slowly gaining importance all the same.

Beyond cliches and headlines, the exhibition gives visitors a glimpse of the real India and the interaction between men and women. Clearly, India is going through a period of change, and for the first time, women are part of that change.

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