If one visited the Sukriti Art Gallery at Jawahar Kala Kendra over the last five days, it would have been impossible to leave without introspecting the reason for the despicable way women are treated in our society. Not only in terms of the atrocious crimes committed against them but also as everyday victims of the atrocious male gaze. The 5-day ongoing exhibition of LN Naga’s sculptures, ‘Gaze: Every Stare is an Event’, poignantly explores this theme through as many as eighteen evocative artworks. “Art does not get created in a vacuum, but society generates art out of an artist. I am a member of this society, and my observations propel me to bring the daily human and social struggles in my works. Crime against women is the foremost issue for contemporary India and this is what I have tried to showcase through this exhibition”, says the artist.LN Naga works with materials as diverse as metal, stone, and terracotta. However, bronze is the artist’s preferred medium, as it gives him the advantage of exploring the relationship of heaviness and delicacy, which further suggests the paradox of the world: fragile yet everlasting. “The female figure is my primary form as a woman’s body is the targeted object by the male mentality and victim of the male gaze. Being a male, I try to find answers from the side of the criminal community. As gender and sexuality are the principal reasons for discrimination, I bring symbolism of leaf and banana fruits for the sexual organs. My female forms are voluptuous as they represent gender objectification and widespread voyeurism”, shares Naga while throwing light on the objective of the exhibition.
On being asked if one can really make a difference to these problems in the society with art, Naga points out: “Art can lead to questionings and discussions. It provides me with the most inventive ways of presenting crucial issues to the viewers and I have faith that it will gradually also lead to reformations in society. My artworks are not only about highlighting the adversities faced by women, but they are also an ode to their strength and determination. In the face of social abuses of all kinds, females fight and progress and dignify the same society which mistreats them. Women really are the backbone of a strong and harmonious society”
The exhibition, which will be on till 19 January, has been curated by Aayushi Soni, with the collective efforts of the team members Ravi Thakur, Hem Rana, Tara, Alok, Ajay, Meghana, Siddhant, and Pramod. Explaining why the exhibition has been titled ‘Gaze’, Aayushi says: “When a woman walks down the road, she is not just passing a road but passing through several gazes. To gaze implies more than to look at – it signifies a psychological relationship of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze. It is a viewing relationship characteristic of a particular set of social circumstances. On the other hand, a supermodel walking down a ramp is a contrary analogy of objectification and visual pleasure for the male gaze. The male gaze describes a way of portraying and looking at women that empowers men while sexualizing and diminishing women. The influence of the male gaze is not limited, but it also reflects on the female self-perception, self-esteem and confidence. In essence, the male gaze discourages female empowerment and self-advocacy while encouraging self-objectification and deference to men and the patriarchy, at large. This despicable disposition of our patriarchal society is the seed for gender inequality and crime against women.”
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