Unwrapped

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Mar 1 2014

Location: 

Brooklyn NY

This performative art took place at a series called SUBLIME at the Brooklyn Museum, curated by the collective SAWCC (pronounced saucy)- South Asian Women's Creative Collective.

Monica Jahan Bose is a Bangladeshi-American artist and activist whose work includes painting, printmaking, performance, and advocacy on women’s issues. She is collaborating with twelve women from Katakhali, Bangladesh on an art and advocacy project, Storytelling with Saris. Katakhali is Bose’s ancestral village, on an island disappearing from climate change.

Unwrapped references both Draupadi, the mythological eternal virgin married to five brothers, and Bose’s grandmother, who was married at age seven. Speaking to women’s rights over their bodies and access to education, the performance involves wrapping/unwrapping the artist’s body with a 216-foot sari covered with writing by Bangladeshi women.

According to the Hindu epic Mahabharata, the heroine Draupadi, who was married to five brothers, was gambled away by the eldest husband. When Draupadi dared to object, she was dragged out and humiliated in public when her captor attempted to strip her saree off. While she was miraculously saved by the god Krishna, this event eventually led to the unfolding of the great war, and is an example of the patriarchal nature of South Asian culture.

By representing this mythical event, as well as tying in her own personal experiences through performance art, Bose depicts how feminism in South Asia is colored by generations of socially accepted cultural bias.

Posted by Garima on

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