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How gender-equal is a marriage?

'Pati, Patni aur Woke', a new exhibition by Smish Designs, is a condemnation of the ways women are disadvantaged within marriages

Th exhibition will showcase seven artworks and one installation by anonymous artist who goes by the alias Smish Designs.
Th exhibition will showcase seven artworks and one installation by anonymous artist who goes by the alias Smish Designs. (Smish Designs)

In continuation of International Women’s Day (8 March), Mumbai-based creative art space Method has launched an offline exhibition with work that raises questions about societal expectations and institutions, their purpose, and how they impact women. The digital artworks, Pati, Patni Aur Woke, are by an anonymous artist from Mumbai who goes by the alias Smish Designs.

The exhibition will showcase eight artworks, of which seven will be for sale. The eight one, which is only for display, is an installation comprising two marble bowls titled one for Mr. and one of Mrs. The Mr. bowl only has a single ring in it whereas the Mrs. Bowl has other markings of being married – sindhoor, bangles, toe rings, mangal sutra, bindi, etc. Society places extra significance on the role of ‘wife’ than they do of ‘husband’ and dressing the part is par for the course, the artist explains. The art works on sale will are priced between 8,000 to 25,000.

The artworks questions the gender equality and equity in Indian marriages.
The artworks questions the gender equality and equity in Indian marriages. (Smish Designs)

The works, the artist says, makes a mockery of the mindset that love follows marriage. “When it comes to marriage, men win and women lose, and women are starting to realise it. My new body of work is a celebration of this ‘coming of age’ (pun not intended!) as well as a direct condemnation of the various ways in which women are disadvantaged within wedlock,” the artist says.

To further emphasis her point, the walls displaying the works have been covered in a red bordered collage of matrimonial classified advertisements printed in newspapers. But articles about dowry and other issues that a woman faces in marriage, which break the monotony of countless ads looking for prospective brides and grooms. If that’s not enough, the artworks have white ornate frames to add to the whole Indian shaadi motif.

Pati, Patni Aur Woke is on till 26 March at Method, shop No.5 , Pearl Haven, opposite Salt Water Cafe, Chapel Road, Bandra, Mumbai, 10am-8pm (Monday-Tuesday) and 8am-10pm (Wednesday-Sunday)

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