CHENNAI: As peculiar and hard-hitting as her images, Vidya Kamat has an unusual story. A scholar of comparative mythology as well as an artist, Vidya explores how mythology, memories, and history shape individuals, nations, and civilisations through her bold, deliberately manipulated photographs.
A series of her works is on display at Art Houz as a part of the I Rise event to celebrate women. Curious about her work, City Express caught up with Vidya for a chat.
Curious about the montage, we ask her about it, and suffice to say we weren’t prepared when she said, “As a kid, I was dressed up like Goddess Durga once a year and worshipped, until I hit puberty.”
She explained the fantasy world with clothes and jewellery, which changed when she began menstruating. “Those memories had a huge impact on my life and also steered me towards a greater cause,” she added.
In photomontages from her Rewrite series, Vidya revisits her memories and reflects on her childhood experiences. “Sometimes we add imaginary tidbits and exaggeration to our childhood memories. I created the Rewrite series the same way,” she explained.
She begins with an image of her own body, or its isolated parts, and then radically alters it with layers of text, garish colours, patterns, headdresses, horns, and symbols from Indian mythology, history and religion, as well as her own memories. Through her works, she not only shares her memories, but also raises questions about women.
“Why are women treated this way? Does it help women in any way? Why is it that one minute, a girl is treated like a princess and the next, she is subjected to vulgarity and insecurity?” she asks.
Vidya shares an incident portrayed in a set of panel works called Making of Krishna. It is her sister’s story. “During my sister’s baby shower, they dressed her as Krishna, hoping a boy would be born. But it was a girl. Though they accepted the child, it was still offensive that they preferred a boy. These social norms get embedded in the subconscious of all women,” Vidya points out.
To check out the I Rise collection, which also includes works of Lekha Washington, visit Art Houz. The collection is on display till April 2. For details, call 04424992173
Lekha Washington — Nature of Things
She began sculpting at seven, graduating to play with resin and moulding material – all entirely self-taught. She was 18 when she showcased an exhibition of unusual resin objects. She followed that up with a formal education in Lifestyle Product Design, followed by Film Direction from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. She also has a penchant for acting and performance art, while sculpting and innovating quietly