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Draped in a sari, the Anglo-Indian artist’s sculpture in New York’s Central Park celebrates the “universal mother”

New Delhi: Entering New York’s Central Park from the southeast entrance, you are greeted by a curious sculpture of a woman wrapped in a sari, her bust covered with children’s heads. The 18-foot tall sculpture, titled ‘Ancestor’, was created by the well-known Indian-British sculptor Bharti Kher and opened in the park on 8 September.

Commissioned by the Public Art Fund of New York, it is in the collection of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in Delhi and will eventually be housed in the museum.

In a statement, the Public Art Fund defined the creation “[Kher’s] the most ambitious work of art to date ”. Ancestors it is part of the artist’s ongoing “Intermediaries” series in which he reassembles small broken clay figurines of humans, animals and mythical beings in hybrid figures that challenge a particular and fixed identity.

Ancestor depicts a “universal mother figure that connects our cultural and personal past and future,” states the statement from the Fund for Public Art. “It embodies the complexity and potential of the “Intermediaries” and Indian and global traditions of creative deities who challenge identities by bringing together male and female in a single philosophical form “

The patinated bronze sculpture of this ancestor nebula is made up of, among other things, the heads of 23 children joined together and extending from her body, embodying “multiculturalism, pluralism and interconnectedness”.

“A mother figure is so necessary in this moment of profound polarity and instability. The female body is always a controversial place of politics both here in America, where it is located, and at home in India, where the female body is too often a place for patriarchal attitudes that it cannot protect ”. Kher wrote on her Instagram page about her after the presentation, sharing an image of the sculpture.

“Ancestor it is here to remind us that we are connected like links in a chain to each other and to you. We are all a family at the end of the day, we are her children. Every living being is the same; It’s something worth remembering, “she added in the Instagram post.

Ancestor will be on display until August 27, 2023 at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park.

“I invite viewers to leave their wishes, dreams and prayers Ancestor; and to pass on their wisdom of life and love to the next generation, ”Kher was quoted in the Public Art Fund statement. “She is the keeper of all memories and time. A ship to travel into the future, a guide to seek and honor our past stories and a companion – right here, right now – in New York City ”.

Kher was born in London in 1969 and has lived in New Delhi since 1993. She has worked in painting, sculpture and installation for over two decades. You have conducted exhibitions all over the world, including Ireland, Canada, China, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Her works are part of collections in London, Queensland, New Delhi, Minneapolis, Seoul, Korea, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, among other places. Kher works in both New Delhi and London.

In 2015 she was awarded the “Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters”, the highest French cultural award. In 2003 she was also awarded the Sanskriti Award by the Sanskriti Foundation

(Curated by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)


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