Curated by Raúl Zamudio
Queens Museum of Art
December 14-2013-January 18, 2014
Participating Artists: Jaishri Abichandanii, Nazneen Ayyub-Wood, Béèñå Äzêëm, Shelly Bahl, Marcy Chevali, Priyanka Dasgupta, Ala Dehghan, Mala Iqbal, Rajkamal Kahlon, Mona Saeed Kamal, Siri Devi Khandavilli, Swati Khurana, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Leila Lal, Shruti Parekh, Leila Pazooki, Mona Sharma, Vidisha Fadescha
The South Asian Women’s Creative Collective’s 2013 visual arts exhibition culls its title from André Breton’s famous remark upon encountering Frida Kahlo’s art: “a ribbon around a bomb.” Breton’s descriptive was based on Kahlo’s stylistic and thematic differentiation from her male artistic contemporaries. The difference between Kahlo and her peers was that almost half her oeuvre consisted of self-portraiture, where social and political questions were ciphered through her protean identity and personal history. So complicated was Kahlo’s sense of self as a multicultural bisexual woman that it manifested in her artistic self-fashioning, which included, among other characters, a male deer, a mother, a baby, an androgynous woman, Parvati the Hindu Goddess, an indigenous bride, a nun, and an invalid.
It was the imaginative yet cathartic beauty and unflinching honesty of Kahlo’s art that inspired Breton’s observation. These characteristics are underscored in the eighteen artists that constitute the exhibition, A Bomb, With Ribbon Around It. Consisting of painting, work-on-paper, sculpture, installation, photography, video, and performance, the exhibited artworks are the formal equivalent of a beautiful ribbon fastened around a bomb. Yet untying that ribbon triggers an explosion of themes that address globalization in a variety of contexts: immigration, gender equality, identity, politics, and religion, to name just a few. Although the artworks diverge in their articulation of distinct narratives, they coalesce around metaphorical depictions of the self in personal, social, or cultural guises. Indeed, the works presented are equilibrium of artistry and subject matter and are exemplary of the art produced by South Asian artists today.....