Thu, 28 May, 2020

Woman power through art

Story: CHRISTINE | MACHADO | 20th March 2016, 12:00 Hrs

Writer, artist and social worker Katharina Poggendorf Kakar's new exhibition 'Flow of Power' which opened on March 19, at Gallery Gitanjali, Panaji delves into women's sexuality and their innate strength. The exhibition features a collection of 20 installations and assemblages.

“Sexuality is an ambivalent subject in India and women are often looked down upon and pushed into the private space. Women need to stand up and express themselves and it is only when this dialogue happens that things will change. And this is what I hope to address through my exhibition,” says Kakar, who has been involved in women's issues for the last 20 years. “Also, if you look at old scriptures, music, dance and temple art, the sensual aspect in Indian culture has always been very strong. But this has been covered up and lost today and I wanted to find a way to put this in my art work.”

For her work, Kakar uses a lot of materials that are available in the environment. “I love to experiment with materials, to tease and be challenged by them. In doing so I am trying to find out what the material means and see how it speaks to me. For instance I work with chillies in different ways. To me chillies are a very feminine and sexual power,” she says.

Although, Kakar is also an anthropologist and author, she decided to go completely into art about four years ago and states that she will never let go of her passion. “I work more with installations because my work is conceptual and installations give me more opportunities to express what I want to express,” she says, adding that while there is a limit on how much you can express yourself through a painting or drawing, this isn't so with installations.

Talking about her last exhibitions in Delhi which also focused on women and the power dynamics, Kakar admits that she was quite surprised with the wide scale response that she received. “ I expected more ambiguity as this is a sensitive issue and also because I am an outsider. However the exhibitions evokes a good debate and dialogue from both men and women with some of them even sharing their personal stories with me. This also made me realise that there was a need for creating a space like this for debate to happen,” she says.

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