My ongoing series tackles the evident patriarchy in my home community in Kerala, India. Nairs are a caste of Hindu’s that I thought was known as one of the few matriarchal societies in the world. However my research revealed that Nairs in fact only practiced a matrilineal system and my subsequent research stretched my mind to comprehend the true extent of the patriarchy. It was not my assumed instance of a matriarchy that evolved into a patriarchy but rather a patriarchy that installed the matrilineal system for their own gains, and the slow erosion of this matrilineal system for the same.
“In my language (Malayalam) the term “vayoo noki” translates to staring with your mouth hanging open, men standing around in public spaces gawking at women who pass by. Men stand around in open spaces, wrapped in their traditional white loin clothes (a symbol of their purity), their self-granted sense of status and morality. I’ve depicted their dark Dravidian skin (tackling their valued beauty standard) and the ground littered with different culturally tied details such as jasmine flowers (that women adorn in their hair) and ‘bidis’ that only men smoke, expressing the passing of time as their presence weighs on. These men wield the authority to occupy a space and assume entitlement over women. Women are scarce in public spaces, and weighed down by the demeaning eye of the men. The work is my process of confronting the social dynamics of my home community”.
Untitled (Mustard) || Acrylic on Canvas || 61 x 92 cms
Jasmine || Acrylic on Canvas || 92 x 122 cms
Untitled (Tender Coconut) || Acrylic on Canvas || 61 x 92 cms
Untitled (Marigold)|| Acrylic on Canvas || 61 x 92 cms