New Geographies of Feminist Art: China, Asia, and the World

Looking Laterally: N. Pushpamala and the Paris-Mumbai-Bangkok Connections

Parul Dave-Mukherji

N Pushpamala, Photography as performance, from Mulled Ink online.

Contemporary Indian art is no longer marked by the cultural politics of the national modern. With easy travel facilitated by globalization and the networking of artist residencies, artists explore new geographies and seek affiliation with wider community. Almost appearing like global citizens, artists intervene in the art world adopting various strategies of representation. In this paper, I will focus on Photo-performance artist of India, N. Pushpamala and place her within a cosmopolitan circuit that traverses major world cities-some located in Asia. How different are her strategies of self-fashioning and masquerade when she is located in Paris as opposed to her being in Mumbai and Bangkok? In a series of photographs of herself as a Thai dancer, how does she perform drawing from contemporary popular visual culture? Does this foray by an Indian artist into another Asian culture signal a move outside the Eurocentric engagement that most postcolonial artists find themselves caught in? This paper will place Pushpamala’s work within current debates about ethnicity and representation of cultural difference in an increasingly globalized world.