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MOTHERTONGUE, Australian Center for Contemporary Art

22 April- 18 June 2023, Melbourne, Australia

mOTHERTONGUE surveys the past two decades of Mithu Sen’s compelling art practice, including a series of major new installations. The exhibition is presented as an illuminated mind-map. As a constellation of image and word associations which move between visible surfaces and interior states, mOTHERTONGUE charts the ways in which language is channelled into forms as diverse as drawing, sculpture, media and performance to create complex artworks which elude definitional categories, institutional power structures and imposed identities related to race, gender, ethnicity and location. 

Rather than celebrate her success or importance as a South Asian artist, Mithu Sen used her invitation to DAS 2014 to create a project called Poems Declined that celebrates the work and efforts of poets whose work was not previously given prominence or attention, to those whose work was actually declined or rejected. In her experience in Dhaka, Sen realized that poetry was not limited to poets, the Bangla language itself was poetry, and poetry itself is a language in Bangladesh, sharing that “In Bangladesh, the language is not Bengali but Poetry.”

This exhibition is presented in partnership with Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA).

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