Contributions

Think and Re-think by Mita Vaghela

I wish my work could be more light-hearted, full of humour and enjoyment.  Alas, I think that I will have to leave that to other artists for the moment. I am instinctively drawn to areas, which affect me deeply.  Affect humankind deeply.  I am interested in the way in which we behave and perceive, and am focusing on the role of the female within Indian society. I am British born of Indian origin, and live in the UK with my husband and four daughters.  I am liberal minded, yet conscious of my culture’s expectations at all times.  I don’t have a problem with social constraints as long as it they are fair and useful, as structure is an important part of my daily life. But they quite often are not. India was declared the worst G20 country to live in in 2012, and cases of female infanticide and crimes against women have had a big presence in the media.  However, whilst these stories need to be reported to raise awareness, it does not necessarily act as a deterrent or prompt any thoughts of how change can be brought about. I have been researching how the Indian cultural mind-set has been influenced and, in a country where the culture overlaps with religion, I have been looking back to the Hindu code of conduct written by Manu circa 500BC.  It is easy to construe this law as being anti-women, but I do not believe this to be the case.  It is people who have chosen to perceive that the writings are condemning women. I strive to make work that addresses these issues in a manner that leaves the viewer touched and in a thoughtful state of mind.  I want to persuade each viewer to contemplate their own views, to ask themselves why things happen.  The problems that I highlight traverse all cultures, religion and gender. In Ultra Sound (2012), I made a film in which I narrate a fictitious letter I found in a prominent Indian magazine.  This letter is written by an unborn female foetus to her Mother, persuading her to allow her to be born.  When watching the film, the viewers are asked to hold a small wax sculpture of a foetus in the palm of their hand. I have predominantly used film and sculpture in my work and wish to make more participatory projects in the future.

Mita Vaghela

English Version

Spanish version

Artist’s website

Wax sculptures from Ultra Sound (2012)

Untitled

Creative Commons License

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