Nā́rī (2019-Ongoing)
Project info

In Sanskrit, nā́rī means woman, wife, female, or an object regarded as feminine but can also mean sacrifice. While searching for women in India in self-help groups who are learning to embroider, I heard about women who weren’t allowed to visit the centers. They are either not allowed to leave the house, due to their husbands or fathers, or they felt unsafe. Some women talk about their domestic violence. I photographed them and printed the portrait I took, onto the fabric of the region and asked them to embroider the portrait in a way that seemed fit to them, without any guidelines, giving them the agency to have authority over their own portrayal. These collaborations created a connection between me and the women in our shared language of art.

During the pandemic, the women and I collaborated via international mail to create ‘Vadhu.’ The community of women have gone through mayhem of grief in the pandemic; it became crucial to sustain the community. The women met in their backyards, bringing with them photo albums, mostly wedding photographs; they talked of themselves, the self they saw in the photographs of the past, a narrative of someone transformed as we walked through the memory lanes of many decades. They embroider the portraits of the past, recalling, recollecting, remembering and reclaiming the narrative of the portrait in sync with the present; the language of embroidery reshapes the memory of the photograph.