Bharti Kher

Bharti Kher
The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own 2006
Bindi’s on fiberglass
152.4cm x 457.2cm x 182.9cm

Bharti Kher

Born London 1969.
Lives and works in New Delhi

When I made some works over the years, I couldn’t hold the thread that linked it all together… and then one day, being optimistic, I thought the world was a positive place where all things co-existed chaotically and awkwardly as life marched on, and so it was OK to lose the threads sometimes. There is no fixed strategy in my work. Bharti Kher 1

Raised in England, Bharti Kher was educated in painting and design at Newcastle and Middlesex Polytechnics. Since 1993, she has lived and worked in Delhi, her trans-national perspective engenders both personal and ethnographic observations of contemporary Indian life as well describing a long-term negotiation of her identity in India.

Bharti Kher began an ongoing engagement with issues of gender in ‘Hirsute’, a project undertaken from 1999 to 2001 in which she studied variations in the moustaches worn by different men in her neighbourhood; as an abstraction of the conventions of masculinity, the work arranged painted close-ups of individual moustaches in a rectilinear grid. At the same time, the artist introduced a series of works that transformed traditional brightly coloured bindis, part of a traditional feminine iconography, into highly decorative images of masculinity.

A bindi is a forehead decoration worn by women in India. Traditionally it is a red dot worn by married women and applied in the center of the forehead close to the eyebrows. Nowadays, bindis are also worn by women who are not married, children, and by women who are not Hindu. Bharti Kher uses the bindi to create intricate patterns that evoke male sperm and genetic chains. In ‘Passage to IndiaKher is exhibiting three works from the bindi series. Invisible People 2006 a five panel work. The triptych When the tiger emerges from the jungle, no one cares to ask if it is male or female 2006 and the literally elephant sized sculpture The skin speaks a language not its own 2006.