“Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s manipulations of Indian movie posters change commercial stereotypes into indictments of oppression and violence against women.” – Helen Harrison, New York Times
In the late 1990s, I started the portfolio, Bollywood Satirized, which is a critical commentary on the sexism I experienced as a woman growing up in India. I called those years “my angry young woman” days. With the recent Delhi rape case and a number of others that have been reported, it is obvious that a lot hasn’t changed for most women in India. Women have come out in droves to oppose the daily harassment that they endure and in response to the horrific incident (as well as our politicians lack of response.) To me and many other commentators, it is obvious is that what is needed is a cultural shift of attitudes by both men and women. Expecting, women to, for example, wear long overcoats is not a serious way to resolve the problem.
In this work I use digital technology to alter the Indian movie posters. I re-interpret the images, to make blatantly satirical commentary as I humorously challenge traditional gender roles and cultural norms of Indian society. The final images include myself as well as other imagery and text from other sources.
– Annu Palakunnathu Matthew
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s recent exhibitions include Sepia International, New York City, the RISD Museum, Newark Art Museum, 2009 Guangzhou Biennial of Photography, China, 2006 Noorderlicht Photo Festival in Netherlands, Smithsonian Institute, Museum of National History and Gallery Z2O in Rome, Italy.
Among the list of grants recently supporting Matthew‘s work include a 2012 Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship, the John Gutmann Fellowship, MacColl Johnson Fellowship, Rhode Island State Council of the Arts Fellowship and the American Institute of Indian Studies Creative Arts fellowship. She was recently an artist in residence at the Yaddo Colony and the MacDowell Colony. Her work can be found in the collection of the George Eastman House, Fogg Museum at Harvard, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Center for Creative Photography and the RISD Museum among others.
Matthew’s work is included in the book BLINK from Phaidon, that according to the publisher celebrates the quality and vision of today’s 100 most exciting international contemporary photographers and Self-Portraits by Susan Bright and The Digital Eye by Sylvia Wolf.
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew is Professor of Art (Photography) at the University of Rhode Island and is represented by Sepia EYE, New York City & Tasveer Gallery, India.