Exhibition and Symposium on “Motherland: Pushpamala N.’s Woman and Nation” at Völkerkundemuseum, Heidelberg (VPST): 27- 28 May, 2022

Arkamitra Ghatak Announcement
Subject Fields
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Nationalism History / Studies, South Asian History / Studies, Theatre & Performance History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

“Motherland: Pushpamala N.’s Woman and Nation”, is an exhibition and accompanying symposium centred on the work of the acclaimed performance and photo-artist Pushpamala N. The show will be on at the Völkerkundemuseum, Heidelberg (VPST) from May 28th till July 31st, 2022. It has been curated by Monica Juneja (HCTS) and Sumathi Ramaswamy (Duke University) in collaboration with Robert Bitsch (VPST). It is also part of the sixtieth anniversary celebrations of the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University.

The exhibition features an important series of Pushpamala’s photo-performances on the Indian nation personified as woman, mother, and goddess. The works show the artist enacting Mother India’s myriad personifications: nubile beauty and saintly renunciant; militant goddess wearing a garland of sculls or receiving the ultimate sacrifice of a warrior’s head; the mother surgeon activating the birth of model citizens; and destitute widow, bent from years of abject labor. As she does so, she reveals that nations are invented, as are national embodiments. The artist’s burden is to reveal the ingredients of such inventions.

You are cordially invited to the opening of the exhibition and reception on Friday, May 27, starting at 18:00. A guided walk through the show with the artist will be part of the event.

A day-long symposium of scholars discussing this body of work from different disciplinary perspectives will take place on Saturday, May 28, from 9:00 to 18:45, also at the Völkerkundemuseum (VPST) . 

Please register for the symposium using the following e-mail: info@vkm-vpst.de

The program of the symposium is available here and the poster of the Exhibition here.

Motherland is the product of a collaborative project between Monica Juneja and Sumathi Ramaswamy within the framework of the Anneliese-Meier Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awarded to Sumathi Ramaswamy.

Copies of the scholarly catalogue, Motherland: Pushpamala N.’s Woman and Nation, eds. Monica Juneja & Sumathi Ramaswamy, New Delhi: Roli Books 2022, are available at the Museum shop.





Contact Information

In order to attend the Symposium, please register with the Völkerkundemuseum(VPST) here: info@vkm-vpst.de

To know more about the Exhibition, please get in touch with Prof. Sumathi Ramaswamy (Department of History, Duke University, USA)

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