Hanging by a Thread I
2022, Kasavu Mundu Veshti, thread, head roller, cloth roller, shuttle
36” x 24” (4 panels)
Art District XIII, Delhi
Hanging by a Thread I (2022) is the second work in a two-part series where the artist cathects in the memory of her late grandmother to create complex threads of identity. She attaches her strongest memory to the smell of her Ammamma’s crisp rice starched kasavu mundu veshti, the only garment she wore throughout her lifetime. The kasavu mundu veshti is a traditional white and gold two-part saree worn by women in Kerala, the veshti covering the torso and the mundu covering the lower portion of the body.
Lakshmi attempts to reconstruct the feminist discourse about the body by challenging the kasavu in its distinction of size, colour, threads and design. The chosen textual signifiers that are intricately handwoven in the body of the fabric: “any-body”, “every-body”, “some-body” and “no-body'' zoom-in and out to morph binaries between class, caste, and gender to craft a cloth of universality.