If you find any joy and inspiration in our stories, with modest donation. In another recent video a bent, curled, human figure made of bones smashes its head against the floor until it explodes, with the words ‘I am not a skeleton’ screaming out around it. In “Cassandra,” her first solo show in France, Nalini Malani has returned to her artistic roots: drawing and painting. Meanwhile, the themes she grappled with early in her career remain as relevant as ever. Indian contemporary artist Nalini Malani won the prestigious Joan Miro Prize for 2019, this Friday. Nalini Malani, Remembering Mad Meg, 2007 - 2011, Three channel video/shadow play with seven rotating Lexan cylinders, Centre Pompidou, Paris. Today, Nalini Malani continues to live and work in Bombay. She mentions rapes and murders in India, but has also been reading. Betrayal and revenge metamorphose into a narrative about colonialism and religious fundamentalism. – draws on these digital sketches. This video installation depicts women wearing traditional outfits from various parts of the country and playing instruments together in harmony, interspersed with violent images relating to the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat that Modi as chief minister did nothing to stop and even facilitated in 2002. Alongside her innovation of video-play, Malani also developed the form that she calls “video/shadow play.” This places her signature reverse painting onto rotating transparent cylinders. ‘I understood my country better from the outside; for example, when a friend gave me a book by socio-anthropologist Louis Dumont about the caste system, it was an eye opener,’ she says. Photo: Anil Rane; © Nalini Malani. Sita, the other protagonist in the Stories Retold series (an ongoing project which this work is part of), is from the Hindu epic Ramayana. Cassandra has the gift of prophecy but is cursed to be ignored. […] Why don’t you try it, folks, / And see what it would do to you?’). Malani turned again to new media around this tumultuous time. In 1991 Nalini Malani collaborated with an Indian actress on a performance based on a play by German dramatist Heiner Mulle. ‘Can You Hear Me?’ is at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, from 23 September–May 2021. Currently, Isla is studying for a History of Art MA in London (part-time). DailyArt Magazine will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide you with updates, marketing and offers from our partners. ‘My mother’s family was Sikh and my father’s were theosophists, both religions in which there was no caste, so the idea of caste hadn’t really entered my consciousness until then.’ After that, she returned to India – as she had always planned. Nalini Malani (b. She is both prolific and internationally acclaimed. While Malani shines a spotlight on patriarchy through art, her own achievements inspire and enable others. When she returned to India she spent years negotiating with public and private institutions in order to organise a similar space for Indian women. The influence of these encounters with the stage are evident in her work – in ‘erasure performances’ such as. The video includes extracts from the famous short story of the same name, by Saadat Hasan Manto. Much of Malani’s art draws on her experiences growing up as a refugee in the aftermath of the partition (1947), grappling with unfamiliar languages and cultures. As a result she suffers through the fall of Troy, witnesses her family being killed and is eventually raped, enslaved and murdered. Husain, F.N. Cassandra (2009), Nalini Malani. You have entered the place where art history gains the voice it deserves. She may have been too young to remember this brutal period of history clearly, but it has fed directly into her work – for example, her first large-scale video installation Remembering Toba Tek Singh (1998–99) is based on Saadat Hasan Manto’s satirical short story about the inhabitant of a lunatic asylum in Lahore who dies on the border between Pakistan and India after refusing to be transferred from one country to the other. They continue her efforts since the 1990s to create immersive, multi-layered experiences from a wide range of sources that give viewers a visceral sense of current and historical political injustices. (2018), Nalini Malani. Professionally (full-time) Isla is based in Kent as a director of an educational charity and a teacher. Amongst a new generation of women artists who wove personal narratives and histories into their practice, her early works were cathartic autobiographies. An essay by the sociologist Veena Das titled Language and Body: Transactions in the Construction of Pain informs this piece. Between 2017 and 2018 her retrospective was at the Centre Pompidou and Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino. Malani created the video installation during her residency at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum – where the video play will be shown in their upcoming anniversary exhibition. Her specialisms were Art, Archaeology and the Roman poet Ovid. While a student Malani was part of a studio in Bombay which was shared by artists, musicians, actors and dancers. She was among the first Indian artists in Bombay to engage with installation and video art in an attempt to bring the audience into contact with the materiality of the issues that were being addressed. Despoiled Shore (1993) is an acrylic painting with charcoal on gypsum and hardboard. It was fact-checked by the artist. On further probing ‘she’ finally broke down and confessed that extreme poverty led her to claim the job meant for her dead husband. Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. A figure that Malani often returns to is Cassandra – the Trojan princess from Greco-Roman mythology. After prolonged captivity, Sita’s husband rejects her because he thinks, wrongly, that she has committed adultery. During this time she also became more interested in literature: in the course of creating illustrations to accompany short stories in the Times of India newspaper she noted that the young writers of these nahi kahaniya – ‘new stories’ written in Hindi for the newly independent nation – often drew on Indian epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, recasting the characters in a contemporary context. Preview and subscribe here. Find Nalini Malani news headlines, photos, videos, comments, blog posts and opinion at The Indian Express. The partition was meant to solve social issues relating to resentments between religious groups. Her art is powerful because Malani is a mesmerizing storyteller. Hema Malini (born 16 October 1948) is an Indian film actress, writer, director, producer, dancer and politician. Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi. Currently in Amsterdam, where she and her husband, who is Dutch, have a home, Malani’s main residence and studio are in Mumbai. In the bottom left of  “Cassandra” (2009) is the tragic figure breathing out her prophecies. Photo: G.J. ‘They were using these stories to reach a wider audience, because everybody in India could identify with those characters,’ she observes. ‘The compendium of all cultures is a lexicon for all artists.’. Throughout her career Malani has exhibited in over seventeen countries. Remembering Toba Tek Singh (1998) was Malani’s first video play. She showed a video and shadow play on the western and southern facades of the Scottish National Gallery as part of the commemoration of the centenary of the UK’s entry into WW1 (2014). There, the newly-opened A.I.R gallery inspired her. When I first knew her, Malani was primarily engaged with acrylic paintings on canvas or watercolors on paper that presented an essentially realistic, socially-based picture of life in contemporary India, focusing especially on gender and family issues. In her Whitechapel work, one of the main themes explored is ‘malevolent or toxic masculinity’ (a term she prefers to ‘patriarchy’, which she argues carries suggestions of being paternal, caring and concerned) and its dominance around the world. In the 1990s, however, these efforts took on a greater urgency, in line with the political climate in India. The influence of these encounters with the stage are evident in her work – in ‘erasure performances’ such as City of Desires (1992), a wall drawing that existed for only 15 days in Gallery Chemould in Mumbai, and Memory: Record/Erase (1996), made in just one night as a one-off performance of drawing and erasure – hinting at how memory and identity can be altered and manipulated. Isla graduated with a first class BA in Classics from the University of Cambridge in 2018. It will comprise 80 moving images projected around the walls, including drawings, notes and fragments of text presented in collage-like fashion, which the artist called an ‘animation chamber’. In early 2019 Malani won the Joan Miró Prize. Medea and Sita are archetypes of betrayed women. While the Indian context is central to her work, Malani’s explorations are nonetheless universal and timeless – themes such as jingoistic nationalism, violence against women, and the oppression of marginalised people know no borders. 2005 : Pijnappel, Johan, Nalini Malani Interview, iCon India Contemporary. ‘The bourgeoisie in India have been protesting as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, but very few people are looking at how marginalised people are treated in their own backyard,’ she says. Masculinity is also the central theme of ‘You Don’t Hear Me’, an exhibition currently at the Fundació Joan Miró (until 29 November) – she was the winner of the 2019 Joan Miró Prize. ‘Because of the way it’s used in popular cinema, techniques such as collage and montage are understood well in India and are part of the common language,’ she says. ‘My daughter, who is an experimental film-maker, suggested I put them on Instagram since they are less than a minute long.’. The short story of the novel takes place a few years after independence and revolves around Bishan Singh, a Sikh inmate of an asylum in Lahore (the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab) from the village Toba Tek Singh. Nalini Malani, dOCUMENTA 13 In Search of Vanished Blood, 2012 6 Channel Video/Shadow Play, with 5 rotating reverse painted Mylar cylinders, Sound, 11 minutes. Part of the film’s soundtrack is a blood-curdling scream. Rather, it’s a shorthand for the complementary tendencies that she believes exist within us all. Christa Wolf’s novel, Cassandra (1983), tells the story of the Trojan war from Cassandra’s perspective – it was an inspiration for the 2009 exhibition where this piece was shown. Lecture by Chus Martínez and a dialogue between Nalini Malani and Arjun Appadurai on 10 January 2012 at Jnanapravaha Bombay. ‘Partition created a bloody wound, and we’re still bleeding,’ she says. It is a powerful protest against the Indian government’s nuclear tests. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms. We live in Bombay, but we have a small flat and a small studio here. Bishan Singh refuses to go to India when he hears that his hometown is in Pakistan. We love art history and, Language and Body: Transactions in the Construction of Pain. Nalini Malani & Arjun Appadurai 23rd book of the dOCUMENTA (13) series 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts. On fakery and the Russian avant-garde, The real secret London? Malani doesn’t use the term ‘social distancing’, she explains during our video call in July, because it contains echoes of India’s caste system, within which certain social groups are ostracised. Nalini Malani (born 1946) is a contemporary Indian artist. We love art history and writing about it. Photo: Ranabir Das; © Nalini Malani. Archetypal characters often feature in her work. The Medeaprojekt began as a collaboration with Alaknanda Samarth, actor and director. Popular knowledge of figures from mythology allows her to continue mythological narratives and use them as a metaphor for contemporary issues. But it takes hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars a month to keep DailyArt Magazine going. Nalini Malani, dOCUMENTA 13In Search of Vanished Blood, 20126 Channel Video/Shadow Play, with 5 rotating reverse painted Mylar cylinders, Sound, 11 minutes. He performs a prayer before becoming a cultural hybrid – wearing a Hindu dhoti and a western business suit. Known for her politically charged work, Malani has gained an international reputation for her multi-layered […] Souza and V.S. From this beginning, her career shows a journey of increasing collaboration as well as expansion beyond just a canvas. Still from Can You Hear Me? Women from Indian and Greek mythology often appear in Malani’s work, from the Sita-Medea paintings she began making in 2004 to In Search of Vanished Blood (2012), a video work that refers to the mythical seer Cassandra, by way of a novel about her by the East German writer Christa Wolf. The play is a contemporary reinterpretation of the Greek drama "Medea." This August, 28 years after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for a Hindu temple on the site of the mosque. Clips from documentaries about Hindu fundamentalism intersperse the narrative. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us: You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at zuzanna@dailyartmagazine.com. While the medium of video certainly lends itself to cutting, pasting and mixing together ideas from many sources, Malani points out that this is how art has always been created – it’s just that Western artists such as Picasso have long been given more leeway to co-opt and plunder ideas from other cultures than artists from places that were colonised, and who are considered derivative if they do the same. Alleyway Lohar Chawl (1991), Nalini Malani. You can see visions of sickness, climate change and mass exodus; bodies and small writhing creatures feature. Malani has frequently examined the ideology of ‘Hindutva’ over the course of her career in works such as Unity in Diversity (2003), which explores the fracturing of India’s claims to embody cultural plurality and secularism. She mentions rapes and murders in India, but has also been reading The Five (2019), a book by Hallie Rubenhold about the women killed by Jack the Ripper, whose crimes took place in Whitechapel near the gallery, considering how the categorisation of women as either pure or tainted continues almost everywhere today. See available paintings, works on paper, and prints and multiples for sale and learn about the artist. Cassandra, for Malani, is a metaphor for ignored voices, especially those of women. He was unsuccessful and over ten days the museum attracted more than 25,000 visitors. The sectarian violence that ensued, by some estimates, took more than two million human lives. “Over an extended career, Malani has been an unremitting voice for the silenced and the dispossessed, most particularly women globally. She began experimenting with new media early on in her career – in 1969, at the Vision Exchange Workshop, an experimental multidisciplinary space in Mumbai, she made a series of colour, stop-motion films called Dream Houses, exploring the ideological possibilities of modernist architecture, inspired by the works of Charles Correa and Buckminster Fuller. Here we meet the work five exciting young international artists which underlines the exhibition’s subtitle – ‘New Ways of Seeing’. 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This painting was made as part of the stage set for the performance. Nalini Malani, an internationally acclaimed contemporary Indian artist. Nalini Malani, one of India’s leading contemporary artists, draws upon literature, mythology and history to create art and characters that have relevance across cultures. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. Between 1987 and 1989  “Through the Looking Glass” visited Bhopal, New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Over the course of our conversation, she talks about the impact of the pandemic on her home country – how the rapid implementation of lockdown and the sudden halting of public transportation left migrant workers stranded in cities and forced to walk vast distances to return to their home towns and villages, and of the impossibility of households keeping apart from one another in poorer, more crowded neighbourhoods. Hope you’re gonna love it! Husain, F.N. “Myths have been brought to us through the wisdom of civilisation, not by one single author. In Search of Vanished Blood (2012), Nalini Malani. Malani’s recent embrace of Instagram reflects her continuing desire to grasp the potential of popular media and circumvent the gatekeepers of the art world. In 2010 San Francisco Art Institute awarded Malani an honorary doctorate, then she received the Fukuoka Asian Art Prize in 2013. ‘If there is a future it has to be female,’ she says. Her video-plays (Hamletmachine, 2000, Unity in Diversity, 2003, Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain, 2005) are a huge success and have been shown in fourteen countries. Goya-like torture and execution; a monster morphing into a woman, or the opposite; the series goes on.”. The following year, she received the St Moritz Art Masters Lifetime Award and in 2015 the Asia Game Changer Award. At the same time, she was finding ways to achieve the Rivera effect: she organised an exhibition of female artists that was staged in Delhi in 1985, when such shows were rare in India, and which became a travelling show in a series of public spaces around India later that decade. It was for a performance/installation piece which took place in 1993. Nalini Malani emerged at a time when the Indian art scene was male dominated. The installation at the Whitechapel Gallery – titled Can You Hear Me? Our mission is to present art history stories in the most compelling and fun way. Ironically, a senior male artist once told Malani that female art counts for nothing and she’d better become a housewife. Gaitonde and architect B.V. Doshi, as well as more recent artists such as Reena Saini Kallat, among its alumni. The exhibition provides an overview of Malani’s career and includes new work completed in 2007. Rather, she was seeking a popular and accessible medium to communicate with as wide an audience as possible. Photo: Anil Rane; © Nalini Malani. While living in the city, she attended lectures by Noam Chomsky, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Roland Barthes, encountered Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre in cafes, and met film-makers such as Jean-Luc Godard – soaking up debates about the Black Panther movement, the Vietnam War or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The artist takes the story of Cassandra and turns the doomed Trojan seer into a figure for our times, The Turner Prize-winning artist explains why she finds digital flotsam and jetsam so fascinating, The trailblazing artist talks about feminism, optimism, and the importance of doing your own thing, Your email address will not be published. T he coronavirus pandemic has forced a rapid move into the digital realm upon much of the cultural world, but it’s a shift that Nalini Malani – who has experimented with technology in her work since the 1960s – was more than prepared to embrace.. Sita-Medea (2006), Nalini Malani. Malani visited New York in 1979. At the time independent film makers were beginning to draw attention to acute racism and caste hierarchy within the right-wing government through documentaries. We were in Barcelona setting up my show from 1 to 13 March. Importantly, she organised the first ever all-female art exhibition in India. The Indian Independence Act liberated the country from British rule. Her magnificent storytelling and beautiful art combine a wide array of mediums. Perhaps more significantly she started thinking about India in a new way. ‘I started to make these quick drawings in motion, incorporating a quote about what excited me at the time – whether it was political or personal,’ she says. In mythology, she points out, female characters are often associated with the earth and the gagging of the feminine voice that exists inside all of us, she argues, has contributed to environmental degradation. DailyArtMagazine.com is your daily dose of beauty and inspiration based on the genius and talent of the great artists of the past. Remembering Toba Tek Singh (1998–99), Nalini Malani. Nalini Malanis Werk - "In Search of Vanished Blood" (2012) zur dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel. Malani emphasises that she isn’t using ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ to refer to men and women necessarily. This was written for Daily Art Magazine and published on August 08 2019. She came to fame during the late 1980s and early 1990s, with her unique performances enacting various museum roles to comment on the elitism of... We just love art history. The short video clips from these documentaries were given to Malani gratis by those wanting to give a voice to the voiceless. Simple but mesmerising, furious and witty, sometimes even hopeful (one quotes Proust: ‘If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time’), these snippets offer an insight into Malani’s thought process. In 1965, the French-born, Polish painter Roman Opałka came to an important decision. Photo: Johan Pijnappel. The project, which works with Heiner Mueller’s adaptation of the Greek myth, spanned several years and generated many diverse works. Since the 1990s her work expanded to other forms of media like video, film and projected animation. Later she started creating the ‘video/shadow plays’ she’s best known for today, such as Remembering Mad Meg (2007), which incorporate video, light projections and rotating cylinders containing reverse paintings – together, these kaleidoscopes of light, colour and shadow create different tones and moods, acting like layers of consciousness both outside and within the brain of the viewer. Hamletmachine works from the postmodernist retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet by the German playwright Heiner Müller (1929 – 1995). During her studies, Malani had a studio at the Bhulabhai Memorial Institute, a multidisciplinary space in which she encountered and worked closely with actors, musicians, poets and dancers – and saw how theatre connected with the kind of audience that wouldn’t normally enter the city’s elitist galleries spaces. Your email address will not be published. Malani’s work began to more drastically incorporate medium other than the canvas in protest against renewed religious conflicts in the 1990s. Please visit her website to read excellent essays and further explore her work. "Over an extended career, Malani has been an unremitting voice for the silenced and the dispossessed, most particularly women… While the Indian context is central to her work, Malani’s explorations are nonetheless universal and timeless – themes such as jingoistic nationalism, violence against women, and the oppression of marginalised people know no borders. In her early career, she primarily worked in the realms of painting and drawing. By drawing cross-cultural links Malani’s mythologies coalesce into symbols that stretch beyond their original dimensions and are of direct relevance to contemporary events. In fact a year ago they had given her an award for catching a thief. Malani even created a new form of art, the “video-play” (for which she coined the term), to allow her theatre plays to travel. She is considered one of the most successful actresses of her time in Hindi cinema history. van Rooij, Two years ago, she discovered a new outlet – Instagram – and has been posting short animations that she makes on an iPad. It was a backdrop for the Medeaprojekt (1991 – 1996) It combines depictions of anthropologists (left-side) with scenes from the Greek tragedy Medea (centre). The exhibition gives us an... American-born Andrea Fraser is a leading performance artist of her generation (born 1965), best known for her work on institutional critique. Biographie Née à Karachi en 1946, Nalini Malani vit et travaille à Mumbai. A Diego Rivera mural is the San Francisco Art Institute’s prize asset – but that doesn’t mean it should be sold, Keeping time – the Tunisian clock monuments that tell of a bygone regime, The art world is smitten with Bernie Sanders’ mittens, What a sham! Here, she has set up a studio from which she is coordinating her work around the world, including the display of an installation at the Whitechapel Gallery in London – ensuring that her vision is realised while allowing for sufficient physical distancing when it opens this month. This work is Malani’s interpretation of ‘The Job’ by Bertolt Brecht, set by the writer in the period of the depression in Germany. Nalini Malani on "Hanuman Bearing the Mountaintop with Medicinal Herbs""I'm attracted to the myths because, for me, it's a language to link with people. By the 13th, the virus was spreading like crazy in Spain and we got the last flight out to Amsterdam. It travelled to seventeen countries and was the poster and catalogue image for her retrospective in 2018. Young girls, caught in a history of violence and poverty, one with a leg blasted off by a mine, another, Alice-like, skipping rope as an innocent version of reiteration; a young homeless girl or protester peeing in public space, signifying poverty but also recalling the prestigious precedent of Rembrandt that we will see on the other side of the exhibition. In both periods there was a sharp increase in the abduction and rape of women. The award was announced by Fundació Joan Miró and is named after the Spanish Painter and Sculptor Joan Miro. The coronavirus pandemic has forced a rapid move into the digital realm upon much of the cultural world, but it’s a shift that Nalini Malani – who has experimented with technology in her work since the 1960s – was more than prepared to embrace. She followed her husband into exile only for him to betray her. Her family took refuge in Calcutta (now Kolkata) shortly after Partition, before relocating permanently to Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1958. She creates time-based installations that are extremely detailed, delicate, and multi-layered. Video then seemed like the most effective tool to reach out beyond the white cube. in Gujarat that Modi as chief minister did nothing to stop and even facilitated in 2002. After graduation she spent a year in Japan, where she interned as a curatorial assistant at the Fukuoka Asian Arts Museum. In the controversial ending of this Greek tragedy, Medea enacts her revenge on Jason by also As the method required her to focus first on face, features and expressions, she says, it allowed her to create a strong sense of character in her figurative work. These biting responses to current events are a way of continuing to be critical when many artists in India are afraid to speak up, as the national government undermines the freedom of the press and artistic expression. Like Medea she is a princess who follows her husband into exile. Politics forms the framework of her artistic life, perhaps because it has framed her life from the very start. Nalini Malani on the politics of art. Although the art scene in India was still centred on traditional techniques, Malani’s shift wasn’t primarily about antagonising the establishment, or even about exploring and experimenting with new styles and materials. Malani is a trailblazer for female Indian artists; her art challenges the role of women in patriarchal societies across the world. Malani’s Stories Retold project works with a world-wide range of legendary women: Greco-Roman figures like Medea and Cassandra, Bhagavata Purana, and Alice in Wonderland. Back in India, she continued to explore techniques such as reverse painting on glass, which she learned from Bhupen Khakhar in 1988. Nalini Malani, photographed at home in Amsterdam in August 2020. But her Instagram page is more than just a personal sketchpad. ‘My inspiration was Diego Rivera, who returned from France to Mexico to be part of the government-sponsored muralism programme, depicting the people of his country – images that the people could identify with.’. Then, Ravana abducts Sita. The demolition in 1992 of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya by Hindu fundamentalists set off a wave of sectarian violence that resulted in 2,000 deaths. Medea is an alchemist-witch-princess in Greek tragedy. It’s almost as if the flotsam that comes in through the waves picks up things that are like jewels.”. Courtesy Nalini Malani; © Nalini Malani. The British did not plan the partition well. She explored varied media to reach out to a larger audience. Photo: Nalini Malani; © the artist, In 1970, Malani received a scholarship to study at the Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts in Paris. Souza and V.S. You can watch clips of her artwork on her Youtube channel. 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