Exploring pathways between photography, graphic design and illustration to understand the vast cultural scope of this diverse country, Pallavi Chattoraj is a Bangalore-based visual artist and creative director who builds reflective social narratives in which she breaks down the Western gaze of what is 'good design' by studying Indigenous forms — correlating design & nativity in different ways such as exploring Madhubani through a typeset and Gond Art in visual design etc. She is constantly in dialogue with various mediums encompassing communication studies, South-Asian art and phenomenology.
In her latest visual series, the artist discusses six everyday discriminatory biases that she portrays through the allegory of a fish market. Fish-market visits were a recurring part of Pallavi's childhood and they always struck her as a place of bias, of inequality with raucous shouts like “Give me that fish because it’s bigger”, “No, No, that one! It's pinker on the gills” or “Let’s buy that one for the guests, they will know it's more expensive.”. reverberating the market.
"While the world springs up enough reasons to talk about oppression, specific discriminatory biases become an important dialogue to rake up. I was struck by how plainly these metaphors could be fished out from these markets. And if you look further, then our patriarchal history makes itself apparent — the market is controlled by the hand of a man, the jubilance in the nexus of power and the exploitation of the ‘lesser’," shares Pallavi who has been photographing these markets for years now.
What started as going to these markets, marvelling at how fish scales shone in the overhead bare bulbs soon turned to a documentary approach to chronicle the oppression of discrimination. Photographs superimposed with oil paints and illustrative details, the project dives into sex, gender, color, race, caste and class biases. It seeks to draw out easy reasonings like “How do we know an Apple? Because it’s not an Orange.”
Inculcating visual styles that are governed by the story in focus, Pallavi worked with the texture of oil paints because she believes it allows for a certain vehemence in strokes, which mirrors our angst as we dive into deeper subjects. 'Fishing Out Oppression' serves as a poignant visual commentary on the pervasive nature of biases and the urgent need for dialogue and awareness surrounding these issues.
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