Past events
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Meena Kandasamy begins the series Objects talk back with the Mithuna couple, a 17th century ivory sculpture from Tamil Nadu (India) depicting lovers, and unfurls a multi-layered, multi-directional narrative built from images, questions and contradictions evoked by the sculpture.

“How can we look at this work and not talk about who produced it?” Meena asks, then examines how caste and class are carved into the object as indelibly as its physical details. Such knowledge complicates easy associations of ‘love’ that may be evoked by the couple. Refusing any impulse to idealize, to exoticize, Meena connects the carving to personal and political stories that expose painful realities of who gets to love whom, and how. She sets the intimate alongside the institutional to interrogate terms such as decolonize, restitution and preservation. Through an astonishing stylistic mix – Twitter, academic discourse, poetry, memoir – she talks back, forward and sideways from the object.