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Spandita Malik

Jagdeep Kaur & Guldeep Kaur, 2019

From the Series, Nārī

Photographic transfer print on Khaddar Fabric, Phulkari Silk thread embroidery

17 x 15.50 in / 43.18 x 39.37 cm

‘Nārī’ (2019-) is an ongoing social practice in photography focusing on the stories of women I met in India who aren't allowed to leave their houses, due to their husbands or fathers. I photographed and interviewed these women and asked about their harsh economic and social realities. Some women talk about their domestic violence. They talk about the misogynistic structure of Indian society and collaborate in creating their portraits. I print their portraits onto the fabric of the region and ask them to embroider their portraits without any guidelines. This process subverts the idea of the artist as main producer and engages the problem of representation in portrait photography by giving women control over their own image. The project has built a life of its own, creating a community of sharing silent stories, learning, teaching and listening to the unspoken sighs. By traveling to these women's private spaces I seek an understanding which is made possible with my presence and collaboration that creates a connection between me and the women’s shared language of art; by listening, I learn the true meaning of nārī.


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Spandita Malik is a New York-based artist from India. Her work is concerned with the current global socio-political state of affairs with an emphasis on women’s rights and gendered violence. Malik specializes in process based work in photography, recently with photographic surface embroideries and collaborations with women in India.

Malik received her M.F.A. in Photography from Parsons School of Design, where she was awarded the Dean’s Merit Scholarship, Photography Programmatic Scholarship and Graduate Travel Grant Award. She was recently awarded the Firecracker Photographic Grant and South Asian Arts Resiliency Grant. She was chosen for Studio Vortex Artist Residency by Antoine d'Agata in Arles, France (2018) ; Baxter St Workspace Residency in New York (2020); Feminist Incubator Residency by Project for Empty Spaces in New Jersey (2020); and The Center for Photography at Woodstock Artist in Residency Program, Woodstock, NY (2021). She is also selected for The New York Times Portfolio Review and NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program for Visual & Multidisciplinary Artists. Malik’s work has been featured in magazines like Musée Magazine and Harper’s Magazine. She has forthcoming solo shows in 2021 at Visual Art Centre of New Jersey and Baxter St, New York. Her work has been featured internationally in China, France, India, Italy, New York and New Zealand.

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