Brooklyn-based artist Chitra Ganesh utilizes collage, assemblage and digital media to make her provocative paintings and prints. Borrowing imagery from the campy 1970s Amar Chitra Katha comic series, which imparted historical and religious texts in an easily digestible form for children, Ganesh subverts their popular stories from the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and other famous Hindu epics by inserting a feminist, sexual and political iconography into scenes with enigmatic dialogue and narrative.
When I was looking at the original comic strips, again I noticed that representations of sexuality were couched in lots of contradictions ... Purity, for example, is centered on specific female characters in various narratives like with Mirabhai and Sita. And whether they were iconic figures or not, all were dressed in a very 'I dream of Genie' fashion which channeled and aligned itself with exotic South Asian dancer types. Thinking about South Asian-ness and the contradictions of racial purity within the nation, the kingdom, caste and religion, it was equally interesting to me the way the characters were so white. And the whiteness is not just in skin color. There is also a focus on certain features that seemed very specific. And since their breasts were practically hanging out anyhow, I wanted to see what it would be like if it actually looked like what it was implying and playing with that. Also, although never consciously, I am also trying to place figures within a sexually explicit frame while not conforming with what is seen as sexually explicit or pornographic, etc. Chitra Ganesh (Artist Statement, Interview by Natasha Bissonauth, 'Storytelling,' Art & Deal, New Delhi, 2008, Volume 5, No. 4, Issue 26, p. 100)