Pushpamala’s practice involves staging archetypal identities, using costume and props, creating tableaus for photographs. In these photographic works, she herself portrays these identities, pondering the question of the construction of stereo types, ethnic types, notions of femininity and representations in popular culture and media that are constantly reaffirming these constructs.
‘The Bombay Photo Studio pictures were shot by Mr. J H Thakker, who took publicity photographs of film stars for the Hindi film studios in the 1950s and ‘60s. The Triptych features portraits of three women from different religious identities presenting their figures in rich detail without showing their faces. The carpet and the vases with artificial flowers placed on colonial-style little tables, one of those shaped like a fluted column, come from the days when ethnographic documentation of native people ignored their individuality noticing in them only representatives of types, communities, trades, regions or castes.
The work was featured as part of the exhibition 'Connecting Threads: Textiles in Contemporary Practice'. The exhibition was curated by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta and Puja Vaish and attempts to trace textile practices, traditions and histories in Contemporary Indian Art.