The many faces of gender bias

Artist Rejani SR dissects womanhood in a personal and intimate exhibition

Lub Dub Lub Dub, the paired sound of the beating heart is also the title of artist Rejani S R’s maiden solo show, held at Durbar Hall Art Gallery recently. The narrative is a woman’s struggle in a society based on gender bias and prejudice. The woman is not only an object of the male gaze and hunger but also of his complete control. Rejani’s uses jute as a medium to convey her stark strong and scathing expression.

a work by artist Rejani S R | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Made with jute and found objects- beads, rope, cords, clay and cloth- the untitled feminine forms depict a woman in the throes of childbirth, as an object of erotica, a powerful Goddess and as a lay girl. One of the most forceful works is the eye-catching figure of a woman in child birth, in the primal moment of procreation. The newborn is a heap of paddy.

From a cluster of women’s faces high on the wall hang long thin ropes that gather on the floor in a heap. “These are tears,” says Rejani, pointing to another work where the women’s nose is pierced, “much like the cow or bulls with a ring to control.”

Works inspired by her childhood offer mystery and intrigue. Memories of looking intently through a gap in the window into her grandfather’s room have resulted in pierced doll figures, a squatting form with red and white patches. Rejani mentions period blood, poisonous breast milk and occult rituals.

A work by artist Rejani S R 

A work on stray dogs- infected with mange in jute with coir patches- is about a society unmindful of animals that coexist alongside. Another, of slippers covered with spiders and spider web(in jute and coir) is about intimacy and nostalgia.

A girl’s face peers scarily from behind a curtain with a knife and rope. “These are what a thief carries but here she has them to protect herself,”says the artist. Another dramatic work is a female form, on the floor, made with sand and mud, with a light aglow on the pelvis. “Worshipped as a Goddess, the woman is violated time and again,” says Rejani.

A feminist Rejani’s art is shaped from what she has seen women face around her, “especially my mother.” A student of College of Fine Arts, Mavelikara Rejani completed her MFA in Sculpture from RLV College of Fine Arts, Tripunithura. She lives in and works from Kayamkulam.

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