Artist of the Day | Nalini Malani


Nalini Malani

Medea (Scissors) & Medea (Knife) 2012 Reverse painting on acrylic sheet, acrylic, ink, enamel 11 81/100 in diameter

Among leading contemporary Indian artists, Nalini Malani is known for her lush, politically charged mixed-media paintings and drawings, videos, installations, and theater works. Her projects are underscored by what she calls an “unwaveringly urban and internationalist” point of view and by her early training as a painter. A pioneering artist, she was among the first to explicitly introduce feminist issues in her work, in the 1980s. In the early 1990s, she began presenting innovative, visually and conceptually layered theater and installation pieces. Her experience of the displacement caused by the Partition of India influences all of her work, as do Hindu and Greek mythology, 19th-century English “nonsense” writing, and early 20th-century experimental theater. Through this worldly mishmash, and her characteristic blending of abstraction, figuration, and text, Malani critically examines gender roles, race, transnational politics, and the ramifications of rampant globalization and consumerism.

Indian, b. 1946, Karachi, Pakistan courtesy of artsy.net

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