30 October – 13 December 2020
The Solar Line assembles a series of 30 recycled silk screens found online and collected from homes around Sydney. Used in decades of textile printing, the disused screens and their embedded histories are reappropriated by Kain. Each screen is exposed with excerpts from the Laws of Manu (circa 100 CE), an ancient Hindu legal text that codifies caste and patriarchy. As a Dalit woman born into the former “Untouchable” caste, Kain questions how this ancient text continues to be used as justification for caste and gender violence in modern India.
The studio is seen as a site of erasure and reclamation; where the authority of divine law is challenged by the irreverence, immediacy and spontaneity of material play. The work engages materials that are synonymous with religion, studio process, labour and value— including gold leaf, tar, religious sindoor pigment and green screen printing emulsion. For Kain, gold is seen as a metaphor for the Dalit body— its qualities have been managed by an arbitrary value system, yet it remains untainted by it.
The screens are transformed into objects that are both ancient and new, fragile as skin and resilient as ancient metals. Their visceral surfaces encase and obliterate the text as it is translated across histories, geographies and time.