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Queens Mansion, G. Talwatkar Marg, Fort, 400 001, Mumbai, India
Open: Mon-Sat 11am-7pm


Shakuntala Kulkarni: Julus and Other Stories

Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai

Artist: Shakuntala Kulkarni

Julus - Four projection synchronized video installation

A multimedia project consisting of four synchronized videos, chalk drawings on board, prints of wiped-off chalk drawings and cane accessories.

In 2012, Shakuntala Kulkarni did a body of work titled Of Bodies, Armour and Cages, which consisted of sculptures made to the body size of the artist, and head gears made to the size of her head. These cane works have over the years become a signature work of the artist since her early rendering of these sculptures.

In a continuation of the work mentioned above, the film Julus is a declaration of the vision that each and every person has equal rights and freedom as an individual, and, as part of a community. Within the space of this declaration Shakuntala Kulkarni has addressed her concern, the violation of the female body, in public and private spaces.

She has dived into memories, archives and histories, taking references from the terracotta warriors of China. As they march, stand or sit, holding spears or swords – visible in their invisibility. As individuals these warriors (the artist posturing in multiple images) speak of power, grace and valor, standing together in strength and unstoppable and fearless, they join the Julus, declaring the future they have created for themselves and the community; a future of freedom and equality.

Chalk drawings on board

Kulkarni’s relationship with the boards, traces back to more than two decades. Initially, the drawings were forms of communication with the craftsman working on Kulkarni’s cane armours, and gradually the context and the manner of drawing shifted.

These boards were diaristic, filled with sketches, scribbles, drawings with charcoal, pencil, paint, rubbings, with further layers of paint to make place for more scribbles and drawings. In the process, some of the colour, drawings, tape marks, remained as stains or markings in the background, with each layer creating a new surface.

The drawings were not planned or structured, nor was their scale or placement. The flexibility and playfulness of the material, and the act of wiping interested her, and she continued to do chalk drawings on board. When the board was full, the drawings were documented and then wiped out.

In this exhibition, Julus and Other Stories, the film addresses performance, which is planned and structured with a beginning and an end, the chalk drawings address performativity, an experience of timelessness, and a process. The drawings become free in spirit. They became a visual utterance by which the female protagonists perform a particular act, an act of adorning. Through the drawings, there is now a shaping and scripting of who these protagonists are, with respect to their bodies and action.

all images © the gallery and the artist(s)

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