Power Artist: Nalini Malani
Nalini Malani is an artist of great wit, will and wisdom. A worthy recipient of the Fukuoka Arts and Culture Prize in 2013, her work is influenced by her experience as a refugee during the partition of India and is fuelled by her struggles as a female artist in a male dominated society. Her practice encompasses drawing, performance, installation, and video and includes collaboration with other artists.
Starting out: She got interested in drawing because of her biology teacher. Back then, doing art was not like a university course; it was like having a diploma in plumbing or like being an electrician. Her father thought she was crazy. There was no such thing as a woman artist. She was fortunate to get a scholarship to study in Paris.
First studio: It was a space in a huge bungalow in Mumbai given by a private foundation and was shared with artists, theatre artists, musicians and dancers.
Current obsession: The Cassandra myths. ‘I think if we paid more attention to the Cassandra aspect of ourselves, we would certainly know what’s right for our future. The other Greek myth I keep returning to is Medea.’
A strange thing about India: ‘At one level, a woman is treated like a goddess on the other, she is like a doormat.’
Passionate about: ‘Theatre. However, it is a very difficult and expensive art form.’
Next inspiration: The courtesan culture of South Asia.
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