Sonal Ambani's Sculpture At The Venice Biennale Calls For An End To Gender Pay Disparity

'Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune' by Indian artist Sonal Ambani
European Cultural Centre

At the Venice Biennale, amidst the captivating ensemble of global art, a powerful sculptural installation titled Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune by Indian artist Sonal Ambani demands attention. At the heart of the installation, is a stainless steel behemoth raising a battle cry against the persistent gender pay gap, a wound that continues to plague societies worldwide.

The sculpture's central figure is a bull, crafted from gleaming steel and emblazoned with the symbols of major world currencies. This potent image evokes a sense of unrestrained power, a charging force representing the entrenched patriarchal structures that favor men and perpetuate their economic dominance. It brings to mind the the iconography of the bull associated with the stock market. But wait, the bull isn't unchallenged. Piercing its metallic hide is a multitude of red arrows, each one a testament to the ongoing fight for gender equality. These arrows symbolize the unwavering efforts of countless individuals who have challenged the status quo, spoken out against systemic biases, and tirelessly pushed for a future where pay reflects merit, not gender.

'Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune' by Indian artist Sonal Ambani
'Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune' by Indian artist Sonal Ambani Bull: 5.65 H x 8.58 L x 4.92 W (ft) | 172 H x 261 L x 150 W (cm) Red Circle: 0.91 W x 3.41 D (ft) | 28 W x 104 D (cm) / Arrows: 2 L (ft) | 61 L (cm) Stainless Steel, Brass & WoodEuropean Cultural Centre
'Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune' by Indian artist Sonal Ambani
The multitude of red arrows piercing the bull's hide symbolize the unwavering efforts of countless individuals who have worked towards bridging the gender pay gapEuropean Cultural Centre

The target the bull charges towards isn't just an endpoint; it's a symbol of unity and continuity. It's a circular reminder that the fight for equality is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires collective action and a relentless commitment from all corners of society. This target is a representation of a world where one's gender doesn't dictate their economic potential or opportunities. Ambani's brilliance lies in the sculpture's ability to transcend mere depiction. It goes beyond being a social commentary and is a call to action. It acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead, the obstacles that threaten to derail progress. But more importantly, it celebrates the collective spirit that can overcome them.

This resolute sculpture isn't just standing alone in the fight for equality. It stands in solidarity with the groundbreaking work of Nobel laureate Claudia Goldin, a champion for economic justice and a tireless advocate for closing the gender pay gap. By honoring Goldin's work, Ambani places her work within a wider narrative of progress, a testament to the ongoing battle for a more equitable world.

Slings & Arrows of Outrageous Fortune is a powerful reminder of the importance of political art and the rejection of art for art’s sake. It exemplifies how art goes beyond aesthetics and becomes a weapon, a voice for the voiceless, and a rallying cry for change. Ambani's sculpture stands resolute at the Venice Biennale, a beacon of hope amidst the global conversation on gender equality. It reminds us that the fight is far from over, but with collective action, the target – a world free from economic disparity – is firmly in sight.

About the artist:

Sonal Ambani
Sonal AmbaniThe Week

Sonal Ambani is a sculptor whose work bridges the gap between nature and urban environments, often incorporating a peace sign motif. Her sculptures challenge viewers to find their own meaning through contemplation. Her pieces are part of collections around the world, including those of the Royal Family of Bahrain. Notable works include Riderless World at the Venice Biennale and Tree of Serenity, a 25-foot sculpture that inspired the naming of a vineyard. Her artistic achievements are recognized through awards like the Pfeiffer Peace Prize and exhibitions at prestigious venues like the India Habitat Centre. She is also a member of the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

Follow Sonal Ambani here.