Bharati Kapadia is a visual artist based in Mumbai. Her conceptual and visual concerns have evolved in response to certain key events in her life – particularly the 1992 communal riots in her city when every night was a nightmare. Sticks and sword clashes tore through the air while the police station below her building stood silent and she lay awake feeling utterly trapped and powerless to act. A few months later, she lost a much loved friend in a bomb blast while traveling together in the same train – an event that altered the very fabric of her inner and outer reality – marking the beginning of a shift in the methodology of her art-making process. She began to tear, cut and split various materials – paper, fabric, rope, found material such as drawing pins, newspapers, gunny sacks, etc. – building the surface of her work from fragments and smaller independent works. Although language is a tool she wields well, her works aim to implant understanding directly into the viewer, transcending the limited nature of speech. In due course, one may begin to feel a growing sense of certainty about some things and wonder at the insecurity of others.
Known for her innovative approach to materials, media and techniques in creating her art, Bharati Kapadia has exhibited widely in India and abroad. She has participated in several group exhibitions including THE SEARCH WITHIN, showcasing works of 10 Indian and 10 Austrian artists in Pernegg and Salzburg in Austria and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi and Mumbai, India; and OBJECTS OF WONDER, The Brewster Project; at the 8th European Patchwork Meet, Alsace, France. She was invited by Transcultural Exchange, Boston to participate in their 2002 and 2004 international art initiatives, THE COASTER PROJECT and THE TILE PROJECT, and was also awarded the Apex Art International Residency, New York, in 2001. Her solo performance piece titled UNTOLD STORIES has been performed in India, Istanbul and Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her two video works, ‘L For…’ and ‘Playing with Danger’, have been screened internationally. She was awarded the BASE scholarship for Artistic Research//Art-based Philosophy for 2017. She has presented at the conference ‘Aesthetic and the Political in Contemporary India: Deleuzean Explorations’, Mumbai, 2017. In 2019 she co-curated the VAICA festival of Video Art by Indian Contemporary Artists. A second edition, VAICA 2, will be launched online in November 2021.