Mangala A. M.

"X" - An exhibition of Video Art and Installations
4th July to 16th July 2009


This body of works deals with understanding one’s ‘self ’, within the periphery of my immediate surroundings. The self here evolves from its familiar physical form to engage with issues such as gender and identity. The essence of the self is the reflection of its gender-specific lived experiences, which has become the core context of my current preoccupation.

Through these works I have tried to assimilate my lived experiences as a woman, negating the notion of being, in the hope of a meaningful existence, trying to put forward my concerns against marginalization[which is often misunderstood and dismissed], and, trying to raise a few inherent questions, only to get invisible answers.

Read the transcript of Mangala in Between Artists - An Informal Dialogue at Samuha >>


The Abacus was used primarily for simple and complex mathematical calculations. But here it stands as a ‘nothingness’ calculator. It systematically calculates the truth from false, divides knowledge from wisdom, subtracts the question from the answer, and multiplies the problem from a solution. These are purely symbolic of the ‘values’ associated with meaningful living, ending up poised as an absurd monument of the mundane.

The sewing machine seems to be generating endless streams of blue cloth covered by ‘bindis’. The act of stitching is used as the metaphor for construction, building the detailed layers in the fabric of life. The drawing of a Childs frock is suggestive of the blueprint made even before the conception of the child itself, which I feel is born into eternal restrictions.

The Red Carpet is the quintessence element of a celebrity-hood personifying the importance of the person stepping on… Here it actually welcomes the woman-ness of the woman. Making the woman-ness walk down the red carpet I feel rewarded as there is a recognition of its potential. The text ‘TRANSPERENT’ is painted upon the carpet in different colours as if questioning both the recognition and potential of the Woman-ness.

The formal structure of the grinding stone is a symbol of fertility and is symbolic of the sexual union of the male and the female. In other contexts it is part of the rituals representing a good harvest and well-being. Here, a grinding stone is placed on top of a sand mound. As sand is unlike soil, and shifts constantly it is symbolic of relationships. These elements are juxtaposed here, bestowing ode to the principles of the previous generations, and spawning fresh growth in today’s un-finished realities.

The (life)cycle stands as a mute spectator, quietly positioning itself, to that end of that activity, where it’s voiceless and doesn’t have concerns of its own. The salt it carries is symbolic of universal values. Both juxtaposed together, becomes an anthem for a mundane existence.

Apple as a fruit has placed itself in a fascinating position through history. It is connected with banishment of Adam and Eve from the garden of earthly delights, and also with Newton and his source of enlightenment for the concept of gravity. But here, my concern was to take this forbidden fruit, comparing them to the eve’s of today who are portrayed as mere objects, a un-prepared victim of the voyeuristic male, in turn commenting about the ‘gravity’ of the situation.

The hand holding a banana peel is symbolic of stripping away the male-ness by mocking the ‘male’ phallic symbol. It is also a subversive way of taking revenge against the momentous stereotype, and reducing it to a mere object of ridicule.

The main objective of this video is to understand the position of women today by comparing them with the mythical goddesses and mother goddesses. The main motive for this video comes from a yearning for liberation from the oppressive sides of the society, who worships and reveres the female potency as goddesses, giving them many names, associating them with the origin myths, assigning places for them within the hierarchy, actually[ ironically] treats the mortal women in a subjugated and marginalized way. To critique this predisposition, I, myself have performed as a goddess, being worshipped in an elaborate ritual. By positioning myself as ‘devi’, there’s a reference coming from within the self, and also a desire to prove my ability as a self – made woman.

‘Wherever I go, a bulb follows’. The bulb is shown following me all around, even in all the mundane activity, and, also invading the privacy of intimate activities. The glowing bulb is symbolic of the put up act which we have to constantly exhibit, in order to put ourselves within the peripheries of normalcy. Even though everything appears to be normal, the absurdity of the whole event gives rise to a strange reality, which accepts anything and everything, pushing us to our limits to maintain our individuality.

The concept of these paintings is, looking at the act of prostitution with its gender roles reversed. Even though the men in the paintings have the epitome of the male body, and welcoming looks demanded by the profession, who remains the actual voyeur is not answered and remains elusive.



B.Com, B.F.A Painting , M.F.A Painting

2003 Dasara exhibition
2006 Dasara exhibition
2006 Solo exhibition
2008 Lalitha kala Academy show

Jnana joythi nagara,
Ullal main road,5th main,
Putmarappa building,

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