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The second sex

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Different strokes
Different strokes

‘Poster Women II' exhibition is on at Kalakriti Art Gallery till today

It's a hotchpotch of colour, texture and creativity under one roof – an assembly of art made all the more potent in its clutter with its powerful social messages. From modern ink on paper to Khatwa from Bihar, the art forms comb the length and breadth of the country with a common purpose.

Kalakriti Art Gallery's ongoing Poster Women II presented by Delhi-based Zubaan is a fascinating and introspective look at the Indian women's movement. A non-profit feminist publishing house, Zubaan has attempted to document the movement through paintings, embroidery and visual media forms.

Pushpa Kumari's hard-hitting Speaking against sex-selective abortion is ink on cow dung-washed paper with seemingly simplistic scenes detailing a clinic, a midwife helping in childbirth, and a baby in a dustbin, with a clutter of birds and dogs gathering around it. On the perpendicular wall, Aurat ka Chamatkar by Action India stretches across the entire white space: a series of panels of watercolour on khadi telling a story.

The works deal with different issues, like the fantastic Use Condoms work manufactured from silk fabric scraps on a silk background, and Mala Karn's Bridegrooms for sale, brides for burning, a detail of ink and vegetable dye on cow dung washed paper. Other works address HIV/AIDS and the dowry issue.

The exhibition has a clear two-pronged approach when it comes to its works.

One set deals with social and women-related issues, while the other is a display of traditional art forms that involve only women. The exhibits include Gond art from Madhya Pradesh, and Madhubani from Bihar.

This is phase two of Zubaan's Poster Women campaign, the first phase in 2006 having involved the collection of over 1500 posters on women's issues. The current Poster Women II is a travelling exhibition, hitting Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Jaipur as well, and also includes a kiosk selling t-shirts, diaries and postcard collections.

The exhibition is in Hyderabad till today at Kalakriti Art Gallery.

JAYASHREE ARUNACHALAM

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