From a long time, I wanted to explore the idea of skin,” says curator Georgina Maddox, curator of the ongoing exhibition Skin: A Finer Nuance at Delhi’s Threshold Gallery.
“I have always been attracted to the idea of skin. I am Anglo-Burmese and my father has dark skin, and a lot of conversation in my house was about skin colour. I grew up with that narrative in my head. So I have been very sensitive to this topic. Initially, I wanted to explore the theme politically but I am glad that artists brought so many wonderful interpretations to it,” adds Maddox.
Eight artists by using mediums such as sculptures, paintings, photographs, installations and ceramics have contributed to the Delhi show.
Shibu Arakkal has drawn a relation between skin of construction workers to the old and chipped parts of a building consisting of several patches, lines and spots. Megha Joshi has centred her artwork on Mnemodermia, a state of hypersensitivity on a particular location on the skin long after the initial reaction has disappeared.
For the same, Joshi has photographed surgery induced scars of her 30 family and friends.
Artist Achia Anzi has utilised the architecture of the gallery to depict his mixed-media installation.
His artwork appears like a vine, wrapping a pillar through which he explores what lies beneath the surface of a skin.
Delhi-based artist Shivani Aggarwal has stitched embroidery patterns on various photographs depicting the human hand. Her set of 10 photographs, showcase embroidery patterns and stitching tools, and are collectively titled Stitched Skin.
“Since childhood, I have been told what to wear especially when I used to go out. There was never free will. The length of the skirt had to be kept below the knee. I thought clothes are my second skin and I took to creating artworks using clothes. For me, clothes symbolise my body. They are in a way stitched to my skin.”
Aggarwal has studied from London and did not get stared at during her time there unlike what she has experienced in Delhi.
“There was a personal boundary there. We were not gawked at. I experienced a sense of liberty. In Delhi, it is different altogether and those who want to stare do not see the age. I am 44 and my daughter is 13, and I notice whenever we go out both of us get stared at. It is like history is repeating itself. I too now tell my daughter to keep the choice of her clothes in mind whenever she goes out. I don’t like that about myself, but I don’t have a choice.”