Khandayati, meaning “to break” in Sanskrit is a visual response to material culture that propagates violence in India.
Glass bangles; worn by women in India, have long stood to symbolize weakness. As beautiful as these ornaments may be; they subjugate women and normalize inequality. Women are expected to wear glass bangles, once they are married, to ensure their husband’s welfare. If a woman breaks her bangles she is considered a misfortune. Therefore their bangles are handled cautiously and safe-guarded, making the objects more important than the women who wear them.
The exhibit presents a process designed to deliberately crush and reform glass bangles, through the design and modification common household appliances; two versions of the reformed object, chakras; collaged paintings using idyllic imagery of women produced by the Empire Calendar Company.
The underlying narrative of the project is an Indian woman who in her frustration modifies her household appliances to protest objects that forcefully define her; glass bangles. Within the narrative, the process she has built has now become symbolic of this protest and anthropological. Therefore the process is displayed under acrylic vitrines.
Station 1 of the process displays the wet grinder where the bangles are crushed. Wet grinders are common kitchen appliances used to make batter in India. A vacuum hose connects the wet grinder to Station 2.
The vacuum, the second step in the process, transports the shards from the wet grinder to a mixing bowl. The first two appliances are striped of their casings to present a transparent process.
The final process is a mixing bowl that is taken to Station 3; where the shards are spread in a circular motion and placed into a microwavable kiln. In 4-6 minutes, the shards are reformed into abstract chakras.
Chakras are weapons used by the goddess Durga; the symbolic manifestation of strong female energy. The spinning process used to make these chakras represent their energy as weapons, rather than their stagnant, aesthetic form. Two versions of the chakras are produced – chakras made in the microwave, and large chakras (as shown below) made by pouring glass on a spinning surface.
In addition to objects, garments, and rituals, the identity of women in India has also been prescribed by idyllic imagery. Some of these images have been produced, and have appeared in calendars by the Empire Calendar Company. These images have been modified using gestures and forms from the displayed process into collaged paintings to confuse these identities.
Advisors: Ilona Gaynor, Milad H. Mozari, Neeraj Kirpalani, Joseph Kramer, Acrylic vitrines: Loop Acrylics Metal finishing: Ace Sandblast Co. ; S & B Finishing Co. Glass production: West Supply LLC Printing: Doug Huston & George Liebert Additional production: David Nelson, Kevin Ware, Cara Molitor
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