Shakuntala Kulkarni’s works are from her series entitled Of Bodies, Armour and Cages. Kulkarni’s “wearable sculptures” as she calls them, traverse a space where historical objects like armour and elaborately designed costumes or dresses of different communities are brought together by re-articulating their usage and medium, collapsing the two and blurring cultural and visual boundaries.
The work attempts to address the relationship of the body to armour, where the armour is simultaneously a protective cover and a trapping device. Juxtaposed against the busts from the Museum Collection that represent Queen Victoria, Lord Elphinstone, and Prince Albert, the work acquires further allusion and associations, as it brings into focus the colonial and regal, as well as the local and indigenous. The work thus operates through many paradoxes, of strength and fragility, protection and entrapment, colonial and native, and notions of the feminine and masculine.
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.