Installation view of Shakuntala Kulkarni’s <em>No. 1</em> work display in NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 to 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Sean Fennessy<br/>

Shakuntala Kulkarni

Photo: courtesy of the artist

Shakuntala Kulkarni
India born 1950

Level 1
NGV International
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Continuing her investigation of the female form as both a site of resistance and an embodiment of societal norms and traditions, Shakuntala Kulkarni’s new work explores the body of a bride. Made in collaboration with skilled artisans from the north-eastern district of Assam, Kulkarni’s life-sized cane sculptures depict a bride figure, adorned with traditional ceremonial dress and ornamentation. The exoskeleton structure, while beautiful, appears like armour, or a cage, suggesting the bride is both protected by and trapped within this tradition. Kulkarni skilfully addresses the complexities of marriage in Indian society, and the weight borne by brides and their families.

Commencing her career as a painter and printmaker, Shakuntala Kulkarni shifted to create three-dimensional sculptures that explore women’s issues within male-dominated cultural systems. Kulkarni lives and works in Mumbai and trained at the Sir JJ School of Art, MSU Baroda, as well as in Santiniketan under Somnath Hore. Kulkarni has exhibited widely, including in the 58th Venice Biennale. Her work is held in the collections of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem; the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; Stiftung Kunstdepot, Göschenen, Switzerland; and Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, Mumbai.

Purchased with funds donated by Karen McLeod Adair and Anthony Adair AM, 2023