Pushpamala N. and Clare Arni
From The Ethnographic Series Native Women of South India: Manners & Customs, 2000-2004 (Supported by an Arts Collaboration Grant from the India Foundation for the Arts)
Medium: set of 45 sepia-toned silver gelatin prints
Bangalore based Pushpamala N is a photo- and video-performance artist who is the subject of her own compositions. In this series of works, the artist explores photography as a tool of ethnographic documentation and humorously challenges the authenticity of the photographic image. Created in collaboration with photographer Clare Arni, The Ethnographic Series draws attention to the choreographed stylistics of early anthropological studies, enacting and thereby transforming stereotypes of women. Dressing in period costume, Pushpamala refashions these stereotypes to subvert and critique the forensic classification of humanity. The strength of The Ethnographic Series lies in Pushpamala’s wit in reconstructing such scenes and playfully deconstructing them, acting both as subject and object to the camera.