Noble Women Smoking the Hookah 1,2,3

By Shelly Bahl

Share Article

Within my art practice I have been exploring the history of Indian art; and playing with and mixing up elements from a variety of historical styles and periods. I have been collecting images of women from Hindu temple sculptures and Mughul miniature paintings, and I am interested in bringing together representations of women from different worlds and creating new hybrid realities.

From temple sculptures of female dancers, I make playful and kitch appropriations of the figures in a very linear and colourful manner. I have drawn and printed these images on a variety of surfaces, and have created environments of repetitious and decorative patterning with the forms of the dancers.

In my current body of work, I make neo-Pop Art versions od Mughul miniatures, with dark outlines and bold flat colours. I appropriate images of royal women pursuing leisure activities in the Mughul courts, and juxtapose and intertwine them with images of the temple sculptures, and depictions of contemporary women and popular culture. At first glance, the images look like traditional Indian miniatures, but close observation reveals surreal worlds where things are not so easily defined.

I often use images and materials out of context to question notions of authenticity and exotification, as well as to give the original works new meanings through technical manipulations.

Shelly Bahl - Noble Women Smoking the Hookah 1,2,3
Shelly Bahl - Noble Women Smoking the Hookah 1,2,3
Shelly Bahl - Noble Women Smoking the Hookah 1,2,3
Shelly Bahl - Noble Women Smoking the Hookah 1,2,3
Shelly Bahl - Noble Women Smoking the Hookah 1,2,3Shelly Bahl - Noble Women Smoking the Hookah 1,2,3
Frieze and handprint design by Sherazad Jamal.
Redux Handprint
Shelly Bahl
Shelly Bahl is an interdisciplinary artist and decolonizing art trailblazer. As an artist, educator and curator, she has been leading and participating in BIPOC and feminist artist-run culture in Toronto and NYC for over 25 years.
More
[smartslider3 alias="evergreen-ads"]