Through the Canvases Of Folktales and Architecture, Tarini Sethi Is On A Constant Inquiry Into Human Intimacy

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When Tarini Sethi starts an artwork, from ink-on-paper drawings to even her metallic sculptures, the themes are never consciously etched in stone. But they are inevitably the same—a utopia where bonds of kinship matter more than self-centred interests or corporate greed, where the human body is not limited to the cage of the expectations underwhelming it.

Sethi also curates India’s first anti-art art fair, Irregulars Art Fair, which provides visibility for artists practising alternative mediums and types of art.


“I think it’s vital to have two different kinds of artists, one where they talk about the issues facing us right now and the other who can situate the same in the context of the future,” she says. “Comparatively, what’s changed about the world is that more and more young people are comfortable talking about their bodies and are more comfortable with expressing their bodies.”

In High Art, Sethi depicts what seems like a dominatrix to us, with a powerful gait, and yet somehow distorted. If one looks at it from a different angle, the visual acuity would deepen—and a goddess-like figure would emerge. There are mechanical gears underpinning the joints of the body. Is there an inherent disconnect that we’re missing? For Sethi, this was in continuation of the idea that there is no perfect body; Who decides what a perfect body is anyway?

“This is the reason why many of my works portray human forms with multiple breasts, maybe a penis even, a few legs, or a bird growing out of their shoulder,” she says. “So, these depictions are an amalgamation of all our bodies… After all, we end up taking the forms of those around us. The idea is to see the human body as anything and all.” Sethi is consciously breaking the four corners of the human body and the taboo of sexuality constraining it.

But in an oversaturated field where male artists are obsessed with hyper-sexualising the female form, Sethi’s gaze distorts the complacency. “Only recently, I’d come across an exhibition by a Kerala-born artist in one of the most prominent art galleries in Bengaluru. I was surprised to witness an entire space dedicated to the preoccupations of the said artist with the thighs and breasts of the female body. There are thousands of female artists doing important work around the human body, but they just don’t get showcased enough.”

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