Mayuri Chari lives and works in Goa, IN
Mayuri Chari reappropriates the Portuguese practice of trousseau stitching, adopted by her family in Goa during colonization, as a vocabulary of feminist dissent. The artist stitches conversations she has with her own body onto cloth, recording its presence in contemporaneous space and time. In India’s patriarchal social system, the female body is often a contested site of control, critique, and violence. Public displays of nudity are discouraged, adhering to colonial-era Victorian tenets that have been aped into a neofascist moral code claimed to originate from Indigenous values drawn from ancient religious texts.
In the installation, I Was Not Created for Pleasure (2022), on view at the 12th Berlin Biennale, she has affixed cow dung cakes to a wall, mocking the tradition of banishing menstruating women (seen as impure) from the home, whereas the use of cow dung as fuel and in religious purification rituals is accepted. For thousands of years, Indian miniatures depicted sensual forms and various aspects of nudity, especially within narratives of society and culture. However, recently Chari was excluded from a museum exhibition due to the presence of nudity in her works. In another group exhibition, the venue owners asked her to remove her stitched work, which celebrated the body of a woman who could have been a victim of body shaming. Instead, she covered it with a black curtain that read, “Don’t open, I am nude inside.”
The work Monologue of the Vagina, Are You Ashamed of Me? (2017) is based on a survey Chari conducted among fellow women students at her art school about their attitudes toward sex, nudity, and their own bodies. Their reluctance to openly discuss such themes led them to mock her—displaying a lack of solidarity atypical of such a patriarchal society.
Power & Pulp, 2020, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi, New Delhi (IN)
Broken Foot – Unfolding Inequalities, 2020, Mojarto (IN) (online)
Azulejo – Serendipity Arts Festival, 2019, Panaji (IN)
I Rise. Edition IV, 2019, Art Houz, Chennai (IN)
Words of her seeing, 2019, Conflictorium, Ahmedabad (IN)