In dialogue with On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, Jhaveri Contemporary presents Fiza Khatri, Sailoon and other Stories. Working in oil, Khatri tenderly and frankly documents her day- to-day encounters and the parameters of queer acceptance and performance. Her painterly vignettes are a generous invitation into the close-quarters of her world.
The Sink takes us to the corner of her tiled bathroom. Beneath shelves of familiar toiletries a ceramic sink leans forward from the wall. It's speckled with cuttings of Khatri's hair. The soft fluffy tufts, that leave their trace for days to come, are the debris of her self-administered transformation. For Khatri, constructing her hair is an act of empowerment and ownership. Her short, razor-cut style jars with a well-established South Asian lexicon of femininity that values luscious, painstakingly grown and manicured locks, and conversely the annihilation of body hair. Big Sink similarly refutes this hair conservatism. With a ritualistic undertone, the white bowl strewn with accoutrements, speaks of her personal index of beauty. Served up from a low perspective, the scene equally toys with notions of purity and hygiene. Painted so that we peer into the dark clippings, Khatri plays into sensitivities around loose strands of hair.
There is a more convivial summons in Heartbreak Pakoras. Khatri pushes towards us a plate of crisp, oily snacks and offers up a seat at a plasticky table in (Queen of) Ming Court. This hospitality is, however, limited. Her steely characters cut short any further engagement, their attention directed elsewhere. In Iva's Spread our companion is engrossed in a set of tarot cards anticipating her fate. Umair gazes through us while in Two Heads a couple of women turn their backs meeting us with their tussled hair. These inner moments of her family life replete with glimpses of much adored pets like Spark and Bite are guarded. Khatri's selective vision for her viewer and the protective streak reflect the importance of preserving the queered spaces she has so meticulously carved.
Dr. Cleo Roberts-Komireddi
Press release courtesy Jhaveri Contemporary.
3rd Floor Devidas Mansion
4 Mereweather road
Apollo Bandar Colaba
Mumbai, 400 001
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The gallery is temporarily closed until further notice.