The story of Indian Art #22: Portrait of Bharti Kher

Who and what is Bharti Kher? The artistic way to describe her would be to say Bharti Kher is an art of dislocation and transience. She is her work. She reflects her own largely peripatetic life.

Who and what is Bharti Kher? The artistic way to describe her would be to say Bharti Kher is an art of dislocation and transience. She is her work. She reflects her own largely peripatetic life.

Bharti Kher

Bharti Kher

Bharti Kher was born in London in 1969. She was raised in England. From there, she moved to New Delhi in the early 1990s – this was after she took formal training in art. Bharti studied at Middlesex Polytechnic, London. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art Painting with honours from New Castle Polytechnic, in 1988.

Some of her most recent solo shows include ‘Virus’ at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, in 2008; ‘An Absence of Assignable Cause’ at Nature Morte Gallery, New Delhi, and at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, in 2007; ‘Do Not Meddle In The Affairs of Dragons Because You Are Crunchy and Taste Good with Ketchup’ at Gallery Ske, Bangalore and Project 88, Mumbai, in 2006; ‘Quasi-, mim-, ne-, near-, semi-, -ish, -like’ at Gallery Ske, Bangalore, in 2004; and ‘Hungry Dogs Eat Dirty Pudding’ at Nature Morte, Delhi, also in 2004.

Panther Sculpture

Panther Sculpture by Bharti Kher

She was the recipient of the Sanskriti award in 2003 and has been a part of Khoj since 1997.

Today, like most of her contemporaries, Bharti travels frequently around the world and stages art exhibitions in different places and is inspired to create more art from the experiences she encounters at various places.

As a result of this itinerant life, Bharti questions the meaning of home and culture in different ways and brings this sense of enquiry to her work. This is an artistic attempt to seek answers and challenge these concepts creativity and productively.

Her work is autobiographical in dimension and attempts to express the view of an outsider looking in. It examines identity and is attended by a unique perspective built on an ethnographic observation of contemporary life, class, and consumerism in urban settings inspired by iconography and life in India.

During recent times, Bharti has investigated the ‘bindi’, a dot, a concept, a symbol, a philosophy, and a graphic representation of being Indian a lot as the central motif and most basic building block in her work. Bharti Kher often explores mixed media as a platform for looking into the bindi as a medium of art, expression, the mass-produced, yet traditional ornaments, as ‘action paintings’

Sculpture by Bharti Kher

Sculpture by Bharti Kher

Bharti is also known for her also known for her sculptures. Described as wild, primal, and unique, the sculptures are resin-cast and dotted with bindis and her digital photographs. Nowadays,

Bharti lives and works in New Delhi.

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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