Lot 20
  • 20

Pushpamala N. and Clare Arni

8,000 - 12,000 USD
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  • Pushpamala N. and Clare Arni
  • Yogini;Lady in Moonlight;Lakshmi
  • Each print signed and inscribed '3/20 Pushpamala N/ Clare Arni' on reverse
  • Chromogenic and gelatin silver prints
  • 26 by 22 1/2 in. (66 by 57.2 cm.); 27 1/2 by 22 1/2 in. (69.9 by 57.2 cm.); 27 1/2 by 22 1/2 in. (69.9 by 57.2 cm.) Edition 3 of 20


Gallery Chemould, Mumbai


Bangalore, Sumukha Gallery, Native Women of South India - Manners and Customs, 2004

Mumbai, Gallery Chemould, Native Women of South India - Manners and Customs, 2004

Kolkata, Seagull Arts and Media Centre, Native Women of South India - Manners and Customs, 2004

Delhi, Nature Morte, Native Women of South India - Manners and Customs, 19 Feb - 12 March 2005

New York, Bose Pacia Gallery, Native Women of South India - Manners and Customs, 10 November - 23 December 2006

Helsinki, Helsinki City Art Museum, India Express - Sacred and Popular, 2 March - 23 July 2006

Berlin, DaimlerChrysler Contemporary, Private/Corporate IV: Works from the Lekha and Anupam Poddar, New Delhi, and DaimlerChrysler Collections, 19 January - 20 May 2007

Tokyo, Mori Art Museum, Chalo! India: A New Era in Indian Art, 22 November 2008 - 15 March 2009

Klosterneuburg, Essl Museum, Chalo! India: A New Era in Indian Art, 2 September - 1 November 2009


Arni, C. and Pushpamala N., Native Women of South India: Manners and Customs, New Delhi, 2007, p. 31, 39 and p. 41 illus.

Sambrani, C., Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India, Asia Society & Art Gallery of Western Australia, London, 2005, p. 22 and p. 71 illus.

India Express: Sacred and Popular, Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki, 2006, pp. 62 - 63

Dalmia, Y. and Hashmi, S., Memory, Metaphor, Mutations: Contemporary Art of India and Pakistan, Oxford, 2007, p. 170 illus.

Private/Corporate IV: Works from the Lekha and Anupam Poddar, New Delhi, and DaimlerChrysler Collections: A Dialogue, DaimlerChrysler Contemporary, Berlin, 2007, p. 51 illus.

Reilly, M. and Nochlin, L., eds., Global Feminisms: New Directions in Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum, New York, 2007, p. 78 and pp. 84 - 85 illus.

Oberhollenzer, G. and Szoke, A., eds., Chalo India: A New Era of Indian Art, Essl Museum, London, 2009, pp. 145 - 147, illustrated on cover 


Good overall condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Born in Bangalore, Pushpamala’s South Indian origins are celebrated in this series titled Native Women of South India: Manners and Customs. Produced between 2000 and 2004, Pushpamala collaborated with the British photographer Clare Arni to create these anthropological and ethnographic investigations, where she portrays herself in a number of different guises, both real and fictional. Following in the footsteps of American performative artists such as Cindy Sherman, Pushpamala stages, directs and enacts a variety of historical depictions of women raising issues of identity, race and gender. The series is made up of photographs that depict the historical use of photography as means of documentation and categorisation. During the nineteenth-century Victorian era, ethnologists engaged with identifying and classifying the people and customs within the British colonies and this is Pushpamala's post-modern take on these colonial photographs.

The stylisation of these works recall certain Indian clichés; studio photos where families would traditionally go to have their portraits taken, cinematic imagery and the kitsch depictions of Hindu goddesses. Known to be a country with a large variety of sub-cultures, Pushpamala endeavours to examine this diverse range of women from varying social classes using South Indian art history, mythology and popular culture as her sources.

Yogini is based on a 16th century Deccani manuscript, made famous by its placement on the cover of Stuart Cary Welch’s seminal book titled India: Art and Culture 1300-1900. The miniature illustrates a female ascetic. Lady in Moonlight which depicts an Indian woman in a romantic setting and Lakshmi, which is a traditional depiction of the Hindu Goddess, are re-interpretations of two famed paintings by the Indian master Raja Ravi Varma (1848 - 1906). Often turned into oleographs and mass produced for a wide audience, these works infiltrated the daily lives of the people and is firmly rooted in traditional culture. Furthermore, the backdrops of these staged photographs were painted by billboard painters, who were instrumental in bringing such images of women to the masses of people in India. Often overtly contrived and sarcastic, these images are examining and playing with the notion of femininity and the feminine ideal.