Bharti Kher’s ideas and works are larger than life – quite literally. She’s is a feminist, philosopher and visionary who has earned a place in the International art sphere. Kher was endowed with the French Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. She is an Indian contemporary artist and creates art in various forms such as painting, sculpture and installation. Most often her creations incorporate traditional ‘bindis’. Bharti studied painting at the New Castle Polytechnic and Middlesex Polytechnic and since moved to Delhi where she lives and practices her art.
Bharti creates works that showcase animals, bindi’s – sometimes semen shaped ones. She explores the diverse landscape and the intersection of humanity and human intervention. She has a reputation of being clever and her art feels like a social experiment to many, her workshop is a laboratory of ideas and images that create a mosaic of diverse and varies expression, some would even call it dystopian and surreal. She uses her paintings and sculptures to reveal her discomfort as well as jocular interactions with both metropolitan and small-town India. She creates morphed animals and objects to demonstrate the intermingling of ideas and feelings.
Bharti Kher’s works reflect a contemporary, and definite post-modern insight and perceptiveness.
Bharti’s practice reaches deep into her lived experiences to create authentic depictions of her feelings. Her cultural background as an Indian born and raised in the United Kingdom pushes her to explore her relationship with her national identity.
Kher uses the bindi, traditionally indicative of the third eye work by women in India on their foreheads as a central symbol and fundamental building block for her craft. Bharti Kher refers to the mixed media works with bindis, the mass-produced while retaining their traditional ornaments as “action paintings”. Meticulously designed on the surface bindi by bindi, to form a composition the multi-colored bindis are reflective of custom that is often rigid but also sheds light on the dynamic ways in which it is produced and consumed today.
Kher is also celebrated for her series of untamed and unconventional resin cast sculptures, embellished with bindis along with her digital photography.
Thus, we find that the takes up the concept of home – national notions and explores its unique creation of identity and cultures, she even challenges these through her work and forces it to evolve with the running themes of globalization and the subcultures created by it. Her art, in essence, is an autobiographical examination of identity, Kher’s distinct consciousness also serves to facilitate a viewer’s ethnographic understanding of modern life, class and the growing consumerist culture in urban India.
Her recent works include ‘Fond Illusions’ showcased in NYC and in the show of her collection “The Laws of Reversed Effort” she explains that “The body is central to the exhibition, when I want you to look at my work I want you to experience it. Not just smell the work but feel the work intrinsically, the way you feel your own physicality. Which is probably why in my work I use so many materials.”
Bharti Kher draws upon the dualities in her identity as an Indian with experiences in Britain.
Her work explores the worlds between the classes and a society that is defined by gender roles, and the forces at play that are meant to set them free as they strive towards true modernity.
Also Read: India’s Women Artists: Aarti Sunder Weaving Self-Reflexivity Into Art
Akansha is an intern with SheThePeople.TV