Site icon Neha Bhat, abt, atr-p @indiansextherapist

Art

You can find here a series of my art work on varying themes related to gender, sexuality, culture and relationship.

Art Shows:
Art of Connection, Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2019
Sad Girls Club Group Show, Defb8llator Gallery, Chicago, 2017
Ways of Seeing, Delhi Art Gallery, 2015
Interarts Showcase, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011
Gallery Samuha, Bangalore, 2010

The Vulva and Me, 2019
Artist: Neha Bhat
Fabric attachment objects used for grounding, guiding breath during triggers and pleasure exploration. Inspired by trauma therapist, Jordan Ferranto’s zine (http://www.jordanferranto.com/cunt), I created a series of vulvas with different natural fibers which provide grounding and pleasure to me. Taking the series forward, I began to further expand on the reclaiming of the word, “cunt” through this project.

Art of Connection: The Spaces Between, Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2019

“I Can’t be Both”, 2019
The duality of being a survivor and perpetrator of sexual violence in one body.
Artist: Neha Bhat

“By distancing ourselves from people who have committed harm and disregarding the circumstances and conditions of perpetration and survivorship as a duality, we lose our best opportunity to learn how to prevent sexual violence in the first place.”
-Sonya Shah, Director, The Ahimsa Collective

With the #metoo movement in focus, multiple stories of sexual violence have surfaced in the mainstream globally. While those who identify within the binary of having been harmed and having harmed seek pathways towards their healing, those who identify as both lack access to competent trauma therapy services globally. This series of artworks is part of an art-based research project focusing on my therapeutic relationship as an art therapist, a queer woman and a survivor of sexual violence, to a group of unnamed clients in India and in the U.S. who identify with the dual identity of being both survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence within one body. Some survivor-perpetrators revealed their struggle with understanding consent in their adult life due to incest whereas others felt helpless lacking control over boundaries due to childhood sexual abuse. Each art piece investigates the confusing, shame-inducing and often, violence-causing nature of this duality, and my relationship to it, through pattern, texture, poetry and text, within the context of trauma-informed art therapy.

Six pieces of visual artwork along with six pieces of accompanying poetry were created in this series, based on the oral narratives of six racially, socio-culturally different people who struggled with this duality. The viscerality of fruit in juxtaposition with the sensuality of flowers among other elements of nature have been explored in this  work. These elements have been presented as patterns of shape, color and material interacting with different parts of the human body in real and surreal ways, in an attempt to mirror a visceral response in the eye of viewer. Patterns are layered under more patterns, pointing to the depth of each narrative, and the impossibility of a “binary solution.” to sexual violence.

I Can’t be Both – Of Suckling Fruit and Open Wounds

I Can’t be Both: Of Suckling Fruit and Open Wounds
40 x 60
Mixed Media on Paper
Neha Bhat, 2019.
A reflection on working with people who are both- survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence in one body.

Narrative 1: Everything I know about sex is from my babysitter. She was 31, I was 12 years old. She was sweet, caring, gorgeous and in an open marriage with her husband. I was devoted to her pleasure. I am now 26, she has long left me, for someone less needy than me, but I still love her. Why am I so broken? Last year, I slept with a girl I was casually seeing when she was drunk. Deep down, I knew she was too drunk to consent, but I went ahead anyway. I don’t know what to do. Nothing works for me anymore.

She held me like a baby,

my sweet girl,

My darling Ni,

when I was 12, and she 31.

When she suckled fruit,

Its nectar seeped,

Deep down,

Into the cracks of my back,

By the wrinkles on my face,

Into the salty wound

That she left

Each time I thought of her.

I,

duplicitous,

I, chaotic,

Came upon another,

One of her,

Succulent, sweet and gorgeous,

I couldn’t stop,

I didn’t stop,

Why didn’t I stop?

I should have stopped.


I Can’t be Both: Of Juicy Papayas and Bitter TonguesI Can’t be Both: Of Juicy Papayas and Bitter Tongues
40 x 60
Mixed Media on Paper
Neha Bhat, 2019.
A reflection on working with people who are both- survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence in one body.

Narrative 2: Me and my brother played sex games with each other in bed when we were 7 and 8 years old. It went on for 6 years after that. I hated it and then I started liking it. Is this sick? Pleasure and pain are one for me. I’m now 32 years old, I’m broken. I was called out on facebook last year as being a molester of one of my friends as part of the #metoo movement. I don’t remember doing it but I remember cuddling with her at the party and her leaving in anger. I tried apologizing but I know it is not enough. I don’t know what to do.

Ladka kya hain,

Kya hain ladki,

Tumhari chonch,

Meri chhadi

(hindi)

What is a boy,

What is a girl

A bird’s beak

Lies within

The creeks of

My underwear

Mummy didn’t see us,

Playing with our toys,

Hold my tongue

Close to yours,

Before you suckle

Before you chuckle,

I won’t tell her,

And you won’t too.


I Can’t be Both:Of Peeling the Layers of my Burning Skin

I Can’t be Both: Of Peeling the Layers of my Burning Skin
40 x 60
Mixed Media on Paper
Neha Bhat, 2019.
A reflection on working with people who are both- survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence in one body.


I Can’t be Both: Of Splitting my Being OpenI Can’t be Both: Of Splitting my Being Open
40 x 60
Mixed Media on Paper
Neha Bhat, 2019.
A reflection on working with people who are both- survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence in one body.


I Can’t be Both: Of An Endless Opening

I Can’t be Both: Of An Endless Opening
40 x 60
Mixed Media on Paper
Neha Bhat, 2019.
A reflection on working with people who are both- survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence in one body.


Detail:

Keep it shut.

For it is better

Not to open

Something

That has no

end.


I Can’t be Both: Of Squeezing Myself into Containment

I Can’t be Both: Of Squeezing Myself into Containment
40 x 60
Mixed Media on Paper
Neha Bhat, 2019.
A reflection on working with people who are both- survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence in one body.

Keep it open.

For it is better

Not to close

Something

That will

Never shut.


Emotionality and the Self, 2017Emotionality and the Self
40 x 60
Mixed Media on Paper
Neha Bhat, 2017.

Sad Girls Club, Performance Art, Feminist Reality TV Show Panel, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

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