Maheshwari is a hijra identified woman. I met her in Bombay during my research on hijra’s while working on the project, “What are You?” I was struck by her loud laughter, sense of fantasy and belief in magic. Her desire was to become a south Indian film star and see herself in a song and dance sequence, romancing the hero and to be romanced by him.
This artwork description has been sourced from Brooklyn Museum.
Born in 1979, in Bhilai, Tejal Shah grew up in Chhattisgarh and moved to Mumbai in 1995. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in photography from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2000. During her last year at the RMIT, she was an exchange scholar at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2008, she received her Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Bard College, New York.
Shah is a visual artist who primarily works with video, photography, performance, sound and installation. She expresses her ideologies through her work which mainly focuses on issues of gender, sexuality, identity and politics. The protagonists of her work are often women and transgendered or transsexual individuals who have been marginalized by society. Using the bodies of her subjects, she references and transcends ‘otherness’ in her work. Other than exploring gender and sexuality, Shah also explores concepts of religion, national identity, self and community often countering India’s celebrated status of being the world’s largest democracy.
Shah’s work has been exhibited in several solo shows including ‘the incidental self’ at Barbara Gross Galerie, Munich, and ‘There is a spider living between us’ at La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, Montreal in 2011; ‘Pentimento’ at Kashi Art Gallery, Kochi, in 2009; ‘What are You?’ at Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, and Galerie Mirchandani & Steinreucke, Mumbai, in 2006; ‘The Tomb Of Democracy’ at Gallery Alexander Ochs, Berlin, in 2003; and ‘In-Transit’ at Viscom9 Gallery, RMIT, Melbourne, in 2000. Shah also participated in the joint exhibition ‘A Cry from the Narrow Between’, with Han Bing at Gallery Espace, New Delhi, in 2010. She was a co-organiser and participant of ‘Current InterruptUs’, an international artist residency program at Kashi Art in Kochi.
A few of Shah’s most recent honours include the 2009 Sanskriti Award in Visual Arts; a residency at Point Ephémère, Paris; and presentations at the School of Fine Arts, Baroda, and the Brooklyn Museum, New York, in 2007.
The artist lives and works in Mumbai.
This artist bio has been sourced from Saffron Art’s artist page on Tejal Shah.