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Nara (2020-2022)

Pushpamala N

Artist’s note:

Nara (Slogans), a set of fifty works, commemorates the slogans and poems of recent popular protests in India in three languages: Kannada, Hindi and English. While the Atlas works celebrate the history and diversity of the languages and scripts of the subcontinent but are unreadable like codes, the Nara works literally replicate the protest material. Words and images are etched onto copper plates, treated with patinas and framed to look like school slates. The ephemeral materials of the street are turned into contemporary inscriptions and objects of pedagogy.

In the process of making these works, the artist was reminded of her early exercises as an art student designing words and forms with rulers, set squares and compasses. She has taken inspiration from Russian constructivist posters, nationalist font books, exercise books and other pedagogical materials to design the slates.


The following are some of the works from the Nara series, a set of 50 works with slogans and poems etched onto copper plates, coloured with patinas with incisions filled with chalk powder, framed to look like school slates. Size of each work: 8.5 x 10.5 inches.

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Pushpamala N has been called ‘the most entertaining artist-iconoclast of contemporary Indian art’. She seeks to subvert the dominant discourse through her sharp and witty work as a photo and video artist, sculptor, writer, curator and provocateur. She lives in Bengaluru.