Lady Papaya is in the permanent collection of M Woods Museum (China)
Lady Papaya (2023)
Lady Papaya (2023) is created in addition to Vatanajyankur’s performative video series titled ‘Work’ which focuses on highlighting women’s repetitive and physically exhausting everyday labor that is usually undervalued and exploited by the society. By reconstructing the traditional 17th century paintings which often portrayed a female figure as a still object posing in domestic household environments including ‘The Milkmaid’ by Vermeer, ‘Lady Papaya’ was set in a new stark environment of candy-coated color of bubblegum pink where the artist’s physical body was objectified and transformed into a pestle. In the 6 minutes of performance, her face was endlessly smashed and confronted with the papaya salad ingredients in the wooden mortar until the body succumbed and was pressured to work with the object, merged with it, became a part of it, and eventually transformed into a sculpture.
The video of happy, day-glow colors, dark humor and undercurrents of violence brings a universality and contemporary currency to the historical trajectory of feminist art. Through a time-based performance, Vatanajyankur explored the oppressive concept of objectification towards female roles through society’s conservative bias. She was first entering the performance as herself; a human-being but was eventually treated and reformed into a non-being object within the forcing environment. Through the extreme physical endurance, the artist body and mind became flexible and adaptable where she finally lost a sense of being and her identity became unidentified.
Vatanajyankur series ‘Work’ is her Trojan horse for tackling entrenched attitudes towards gender, equality and work. It aims to shine the spotlight towards women workers who are mistreated and abused behind the scene, to make unknown known and give the voiceless a voice.