Nalini Malani was born in 1946 in Karachi before the 1947 Partition of India and was trained as a painter at the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art in Mumbai (1964–1969). Malani became known as a pioneer in India in the 1980s for her attention to feminist issues, and later in the early 1990s for her innovative theater and installation projects. Her multimedia projects feature recurring themes around the subjects of gender, memory, race, and transnational politics, especially in reference to India’s postcolonial history after independence and partition. The artist often draws upon stories from Hindu and Greek mythology, nineteenth-century literary nonsense writing by such authors as Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, and early-twentieth-century experimental theater to create allegories for present day events.
Transgressions II, 2009, a video/shadow play from the Asia Society Museum Collection, explores the nuances of western postcolonial dominance in India. This three-channel video installation integrates the folk sensibility of traditional shadow plays with new technology.
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