In Sanskrit, Dalit translates to shattered or broken. This is where I begin. Piecing together fragments of an ancient tale, from which I form a new beginning.

—Kirtika Kain

Exhibition Dates: 12 July – 3 August 2019

In Sanskrit, Dalit translates to shattered or broken. This is where I begin. Piecing together fragments of an ancient tale, from which I form a new beginning. We are the progeny of shadows and scavengers; the shit cleaners, the Untouchables. The lowest in the oldest hierarchy of caste. I search in between these lines and divisions for that formless, wordless space where I can hear the beating heart of a stigmatised body. Corpus unstitches the historical wound of this flesh, it leans into her lesions; it is the oil of her skin, the fragrance of her hair, it is his scars, her shame, his stigmata, his glory and disgrace, it is the centuries of her dance and his worship. It locates where the literal corpus, the ancient laws of Manusmriti, hit the physical corpus. These memories, these words I have not lived, I have inherited. Corpus has materialised over consecutive residencies in the ancient and modern cities of Delhi and Rome; capitals of power, empire and resistance, at once foreign and familiar. Amongst the grit and the grandeur, I have found my tools: brooms, religious twine, pigments, gold and silver. Amongst all that is said I find a voice that has never been heard.

Kirtika Kain, 2019


Kirtika Kain (born in 1990) examines how oppressive social hierarchies and power structures have been enforced upon and embodied by generations before her, from the perspective of an outsider. Kain incorporates a myriad of humble materials that relate to themes of valuation, corporeality, ritual and the manual labour of the lower classes including iron filings, gold, vermillion and bitumen. Through diverse alchemical and experimental printmaking processes, Kain attempts to transform these everyday materials into aesthetic object of value; thus, re-defining and re-imagining a personal and collective narrative.

Delhi-born, Sydney based artist Kirtika Kain received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2016 for which she was awarded the Bird Holcomb MFA Scholarship to complete her Masters in 2018. Since being awarded the Lloyd Rees Memorial Youth Art Award and Hornsby Art Prize (Printmaking) in 2017, Kain has been a finalist in numerous art awards including Blacktown Art Prize (2017), Gippsland Print Award (2017), Swan Hill Drawing and Print Prize (2018) and Artspace Mackay Libris Award (2018). Most recently Kain has completed two consecutive residencies at Sanskriti Kendra Residency, New Delhi, India (2019), and at the prestigious British School at Rome NAS International Residency, Italy (2019).

This is Kirtika Kain’s first exhibition with Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

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Kirtika Kain Her, 2019; gold paint, human hair, charcoal, wax, hand made paper; 169 x 226 cm; enquire
Her, 2019
gold paint, human hair, charcoal, wax, hand made paper
169 x 226 cm
Kirtika Kain sex, 2019; sindoor pigment, wax, plaster, hand made paper; 55 x 55 cm; enquire
sex, 2019
sindoor pigment, wax, plaster, hand made paper
55 x 55 cm
Kirtika Kain smoulder, 2019; iron filings, gold pigment, human hair, wax, zinc; 47 x 47 cm; enquire
smoulder, 2019
iron filings, gold pigment, human hair, wax, zinc
47 x 47 cm
Kirtika Kain unfurls, 2019; tar, human hair, copper; 34 x 34 cm; enquire
unfurls, 2019
tar, human hair, copper
34 x 34 cm
Kirtika Kain skin, 2019; copper paint, human hair, wax, hand made paper; 34 x 34 cm; enquire
skin, 2019
copper paint, human hair, wax, hand made paper
34 x 34 cm
Kirtika Kain Veda, 2019; tar, plaster, wax, copper; 34 x 34 cm; enquire
Veda, 2019
tar, plaster, wax, copper
34 x 34 cm
Kirtika Kain soot, 2019; charcoal, wax, copper; 34 x 34 cm; enquire
soot, 2019
charcoal, wax, copper
34 x 34 cm
Kirtika Kain veil, 2019; silver pigment, silver paint, plastic waste, zinc; 47 x 47 cm; enquire
veil, 2019
silver pigment, silver paint, plastic waste, zinc
47 x 47 cm
Kirtika Kain smoke, 2019; iron filings, silver pigment, wax, zinc; 47 x 47 cm; enquire
smoke, 2019
iron filings, silver pigment, wax, zinc
47 x 47 cm
Kirtika Kain rapture, 2019; kumkum powder, bristles, wax, hand made paper; 52.5 x 54 cm; enquire
rapture, 2019
kumkum powder, bristles, wax, hand made paper
52.5 x 54 cm
Kirtika Kain pewter, 2019; iron filings, pewter paint, wax, zinc; 40 x 32 cm; enquire
pewter, 2019
iron filings, pewter paint, wax, zinc
40 x 32 cm
Kirtika Kain temple, 2019; coper paint, human hair, wax, hand made paper; 38 x 38 cm; enquire
temple, 2019
coper paint, human hair, wax, hand made paper
38 x 38 cm
Kirtika Kain Namdeo, 2019; copper, rope, copper paint; 55 x 55 cm; enquire
Namdeo, 2019
copper, rope, copper paint
55 x 55 cm
Kirtika Kain Roma, 2019; natural pigment, oxidation, wax, etched copper; 66 x 48 cm; enquire
Roma, 2019
natural pigment, oxidation, wax, etched copper
66 x 48 cm
Kirtika Kain night, 2019; m-seal, copper paint, wire mesh; 57 x 57 cm; enquire
night, 2019
m-seal, copper paint, wire mesh
57 x 57 cm
Kirtika Kain rites, 2019; Indian cotton, coconut broom grass, gold pigment, wax; 52 x 40 cm; enquire
rites, 2019
Indian cotton, coconut broom grass, gold pigment, wax
52 x 40 cm
Kirtika Kain offerings, 2019; coconut broom grass, gold pigment, wax; 52 x 44 cm; enquire
offerings, 2019
coconut broom grass, gold pigment, wax
52 x 44 cm
Kirtika Kain corrupted, 2019; Indian clay, wax, hand made paper; 66 x 61 cm; enquire
corrupted, 2019
Indian clay, wax, hand made paper
66 x 61 cm
Kirtika Kain rupture, 2019; birch broom twigs, sindoor powder, wax; 50 x 52 cm; enquire
rupture, 2019
birch broom twigs, sindoor powder, wax
50 x 52 cm
Kirtika Kain heart, 2019; birch broom twigs, sindoor powder, wax; 50 x 50 cm; enquire
heart, 2019
birch broom twigs, sindoor powder, wax
50 x 50 cm
Kirtika Kain shame, 2019; tar, Indian cotton, rope; 44 x 39 cm; enquire
shame, 2019
tar, Indian cotton, rope
44 x 39 cm
Kirtika Kain burnt blood, 2019; religious thread, wax; 35 x 35 cm; enquire
burnt blood, 2019
religious thread, wax
35 x 35 cm