Spanning a period from the third millennium BCE to today, the works in this exhibition offer transformational and compelling images of the human body. Most of the artists depict the female body, using the form in myriad ways: as an object of veneration, as a mode of self-representation, and to question the safety of public spaces.
Within the canon of South Asian art, a typical and potent subject is Devi, the great goddess who holds immeasurable sacrality and strength. In modern and contemporary art, South Asian-identified artists have reacted against traditional norms and challenged gender, national, and social stereotypes. Some have reoriented the exemplary and fierce model of the goddess. Others have attended to new subjects, selecting everyday townspeople—such as fisherwomen and local schoolgirls—to be the protagonists of their work.
Each of the artists in the exhibition invest the human body with the power to question social, political, and normative fictions. By doing so, they invite you to explore the complexities of the human body: to contemplate and question which bodies are conferred with greater degrees of humanity and perhaps to imagine, with the artists, different ways to embody change.