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My Oma

8 December 2023 — 12 May 2024, Kunstinstituut Melly, Netherlands

Sheelasha Rajdhandhari's remarkable piece, 'My great-great-grandmother’s shawl,' from the SAF collection is featured at Kunstinstituut Melly, Netherlands, as part of the 'My Oma' exhibition.

'My Oma' is curated by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Rosa de Graaf, Jessy Koeiman, Julija Mockutė, and Vivian Ziherl. Its key producers are Shana Lewis, Pilar Mata Dupont, and Wendy van Slagmaat-Bos. Advisors to the research and planning process of "My Oma" include our Artistic Director, Diana Campbell, alongside Edward Gillman, Sun A Moon, and Manuela Moscoso.  The exhibition has extended its time till September 1st, 2024. 

In the performative artwork titled 'My great-great-grandmother’s shawl,' Kathmandu-based artist Sheelasha Rajbhandari intricately weaves together the threads of change embedded in fabric and time. The three sets of photographs depict generations of women in the artist’s maternal family, tracing the evolving clothing preferences that mirror broader political and economic transformations within Nepal.

The first image features the artist's great-great-grandmother, Purna Kumari Vaidhya, adorned in a Dambar Kumari Shawl, a 19th-century textile composed of a block-printed fabric sandwiched between fine muslin. The second and third portraits depict her grandmother, Chiniya Devi Bijukchhe, and the artist herself, both framed in the same posture and draped in a shawl. However, these two shawls are replicated by the artist, evident by the clothing tags. This visual narrative explores the growing influence of capitalism and ready-made items, prompting an interrogation on notions of authenticity and mimicry in the production of culturally significant items.

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