(British/Indian, b.1969) is a leading Indian Contemporary artist who works with painting, collage, photography, sculpture, and installation. Kher was born in London to an Indian immigrant family. She studied painting and design at Middlesex Polytechnic in London, and then at Newcastle Polytechnic in Northern England. In 1992, Kher traveled to India where she met her future husband, Indian artist Subodh Gupta
, and relocated there permanently shortly afterward.
Kher is an artist committed to exploring cultural misinterpretations and social codes through her art practice. She uses the bindi as a central motif in her work to link tradition and modernity, East and West. The bindi, an adornment wore by Indian women on their foreheads, is traditionally seen as the sign of a married woman, and the third eye that links the spiritual and material worlds. The painting series Untitled
is composed of multi-layered and multi-colored circular bindis, which refer to the changing roles of women in India, as the bindi lost its traditional meanings and became a fashion accessory. Kher’s famed installation, The Skin Speaks A Language Not Its Own
(2006), features a life-size elephant made with fiberglass and covered with numerous white bindis, kneeling on the floor in an ambiguous state between dying and living. In her sculptures and collages, Kher has created hybrid beings that unite contradictions of gender, species, race, and social role. Sculptures such as Arione
(2004) and Arione’s Sister
(2006) are part-human, part-animal; sperm-shaped bindis writhe over their bodies, completing the vision of a futuristic femininity.
Kher is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery
in New York, Hauser & Wirth
in London, Galerie Perrotin in Paris, and Nature Morte in Delhi. Kher lives and works in New Delhi.