Nalini Malani, Penelope, 2012. Single-channel stop-motion animation (color, 1:06 minutes). Anonymous donor. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Lelong, New York. © Nalini Malani

One of India’s foremost contemporary artists, Nalini Malani experiments with a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, and video, to create her mesmerizing moving image installations. Her practice is influenced by questions of social politics, the human consequences of war and technology, and enduring references to myth and memory in contemporary life. Penelope (2012) exemplifies the artist’s innovative approach to representations of women in visual culture and memory. Composed as a silent video sketch, Penelope illustrates the artist’s adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. The animation is named for and follows the story of the wife of Odysseus as she obsessively weaves and unweaves a mourning shroud during her husband’s years-long absence. The emotional turmoil of their separation and the repeated making and unmaking of the shroud is echoed in the video’s stop-motion frames, in which monstrous figures continuously form and are unformed in looped animation sequences. “The idea of art is how to extend a person’s thought into other directions,” says Malani. “While awakening the art, we also awaken something in ourselves.”

View more of Malani’s work on the artist’s website at

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