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Katharina's Art


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Papermaking is a painstakingly long process, from ripping old envelopes, paper scrap and newspapers into small pieces, to making pulp, to formation of the fibres and finally drying and sorting the handmade paper sheets. In the second year of the pandemic, Katharina made several thousand round, coloured papers and stacked them on standing and hanging pillars. 

“For months, I have produced round, coloured papers with rough edges. They are stacked on top of each other as layers of memory, forming a tall pillar of changing colours. Within Earths 4,6 billion years of existence, layers of rocks and sediments shaped patterns of geological time, deep time, which often looks like coloured bands on Earth’s growth chart.”

(Katharina Kakar, 2021) 

2021, (handmade papers, copper), 250 x 25 x 25 cm



In 2020, during the first year of the pandemic, Katharina and her husband Sudhir isolated themselves on their property with a large, tropic, wild garden, which Katharina attends to daily. 

Katharina’s attention towards the insects and plants shifted: being able to spend more time observing. There was a rootedness and connection –trees and plants, reptiles, birds and insects, the fish in her pond- which made the absence or presence of other human beings almost irrelevant. Katharina involved herself in projects of art and nature. 

She also changed hundreds of ugly day-to-day objects in her house and garden, such as plastic chairs, flower pots or toilet seats into colourful creations, as a counteract to the depressive collective mood that the pandemic spread around the globe.



2018, Body Lines: Pain (mixed media), 100 x 50 cm 

Katharina translates personal body memories into memory boxes: altar-like wall hangings in mixed media. She got interested in how the body itself is capable of storing memories, memory intrinsic to the body, how we remember by and through the body, rather than what is remembered about the body. In the series called “Body Lines”, she utilizes her own body as a roadmap. 

In 2019, the subject of memory played an important role in Katharina’s work. Memory takes many different forms, such as images, sounds or meaning. The term memory applies to both, the power of remembering and to what is remembered. It is essential to all lives, because without memory we could not learn anything. It structures and processes experiences, which we retrieve at certain times as information. Thus, memory is a means by which we draw on our past experiences in order to use this information in the present. The way we store information affects the way we retrieve it. It is encoded visually, as a picture; acoustically, as a sound or through verbal repetition; or it is encoded semantically, giving meaning. Artists have approached the subject of memory in infinite ways. Christian Boltanski, for example, exposes ties of memory to loss and mourning. For him, making art “is not about telling the truth, but making the truth felt”. Similarly, recalling memory is not about telling the truth – even though we believe it to be truthful - but making our subjective truth felt, adjusting the way we remember, and what we remember.   


Persistence of Memory” (20th of December, 2018 till 20th of January, 2019), an exhibition initiated by Katharina Kakar (Kakar Art Collective) for Project Café, Assagao, relates to the title of a painting by Salvador Dali, in which he painted soft, melted watches. According to Dali, his painting was not inspired by the theory of relativity, as many suspected, but by the imagination of a Camembert cheese melting in the sun. Memory as a fluid state of “becoming”, fiction rather than fact, is being deceptive by constantly changing and being adapted over time. Making their subjective truths felt, the artists allow for an inner dialogue and push imagination into new directions. 

Dream-like imagination, thus, recapturing, transforming and freezing memory through creative processes through mediums of wall installation, technology-based art, printmaking and painting, has been the subject of the works by the contributing five women artists from Mumbai, Delhi and Goa.    

This video-installation connects audios from the "Tibetan Book of the Dead” with memories of personal loss. The projection-mapping, in the shape of a circle, consists of altered photos showing different stages of human conception and pregnancy. 

The video was projected into a hollow half circle, made of copper, like a pregnant womb inverted, and was played in a loop. 

Animation & Projection Mapping with the support of S. Nanda, Mosquito Massala


In 2018, Katharina focussed on developing community art projects in collaboration with other NGO’s in India. The Serendipity Arts Festival (2017) and the Elephant Project with Wildlife Trust, India served as pilot projects for future activities in her engagement with children in different communities. In January and March 2018 camps were held in Madhya Pradesh, where music instruments were created from discarded objects and garbage. In April, Katharina involved tribal and migrant children in Goa to create awareness about the shrinking numbers of the Asian elephant, as part of a larger project she was invited to be part of as an artist (more information can be found on the page “projects”). In August, an exhibition with art works done by children of Tara Trust was mounted on a restaurant wall in Benaulim.  


Elephant for Wildlife Trust, India, August 2018


Visitors at the Indira National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, exploring the boxes 

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Katharina further organized an art residency at Art Ichol in Madhya Pradesh to explore new spaces and collaborate with artists from different fields. “Disjoints & Dislocations” took place from January 9th to 23rd, 2018, seven female artists were invited to participate. 

Accompanied by daily sessions in and out of the studio, the resulting impact came to be much more than a culmination of artworks alone. 

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She also contributed one of her ink drawings to “Art for Kerala”, an exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, curated by Sushmit Sharma, where selected artists donated art as a fundraiser for victims of the devastating floods in Kerala in August 2018.​

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Between 2015 and 2017, Katharina’s solo exhibition, “Crossing the Lakshmana Rekha: Shakti, Sensuality, Sexuality”, was shown in different cities within India. In 2017 it was shown at two different venues in Hyderabad, for the Kalakriti Art Festival in the Goethe Zentrum as well as during the Hyderabad Literature Festival.

The exhibition looks at the different aspects of sensuality and femininity from the female perspective to unseat the dominant male gaze. The works address and redefine issues around sexuality and the constraints women face in the 21st century.  


Hung Out To Dry, 2015 (mixed media)

The same year, Katharina participated in two group shows: “She”, curated by Samira Sheth at Cube Gallery (Moira, Goa), where Katharina transformed a pillar, among other things, into a goddess and at Video Vortex, a collateral event at Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kerala, where Katharina’s video “Ella Talking Art” was shown. 

“An unashamed sensual sculptural language.”

Chris Dercon, Tate Modern, London, 2015





Goddess, 2016 (mixed media)

“Women are often defined as pillars of the family and nation. In a patriarchal perception, the honour of the family and the Indian nation depends on the sexual behaviour and control of women hence the conflicting juxtaposition of the sexual and moral impetus. This juxtaposition points to the many conflicting emotions and the occasional paralysis faced by women in the 21st century face, torn between deeply internalized ancient values and role models while in motion towards new identities at the same time.”

“Empathically explores the issue of feminine space as a territory shifting between the continuously assailed social space and the domestic patriarchal one.”

Dr. Jyothindra Jain, Indian Art and Culture Historian, New Delhi, 2015

Katharina’s solo show, “Flow of Power”, Gallery Gitanjali, Panjim, Goa, was based on the 2015 exhibition “Crossing the Lakshmana Rekha: Shakti, Sensuality, Sexuality”. 

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Katharina works in a variety of media, including drawing, installation, text and video. Her creations engage with the spaces she works and lives in. She examines characteristic traits and complex meanings of materials that are without tradition in the context of art: dried fish, chilies, spices, ash, plastic garbage, to name a few.

Between 2015 and 2020 Katharina often included copper and wax into her works. 

"Kakar’s works are cheerful, provocative, sexy and scary at the same time."

Dr. Britta Schmitz, Chief Curator, National Gallery in Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, 2015

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For the group show, “The Measure of all Things. Rethinking Humanism through Art” at the Department of Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Katharina created a video, where she trained her parrot Ella to be an art critic. All audi-recordings in that video –questions as well as answers- are Ella’s original voice, the visuals are altered pictures, based on art works of the South African photographer Roger Ballen. 

“Ella, the parrot, was named after the famous jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, and was born in India in 2014. Ella started to speak when she was six months old.” 

(Katharina Kakar, 2016)

“I loved the video…found it humorous and touching. I showed it to the people in my office and they could not stop laughing.” Roger Ballen, photo artist, Johannesburg about the video "Ella Talking Art", 2016


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In 2015, Katharina’s solo show called “Crossing the Lakshmana Rekha: Shakti, Sensuality, Sexuality”, was shown at the Visual Arts Gallery in New Delhi and at Gallery Latitude 28, New Delhi. The show travelled in 2016 to Gallery Gitanjali and in 2017 to the Kalakriti Art Festival and the Hyderabad Literature Festival.

“Pushing the creative envelope.”

Dr. Alka Pande, Director, Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre Gallery, New Delhi  

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In the same year she participated in four group shows, at “And Still I Rise” at the Instituto Cervantes, Cultural Centre of Spain, New Delhi; at “Tales from Darkness” at Sunaparanta, Centre for the Arts, Panjim, Goa; at “Kama, Interrupted”at Gitanjali Gallery, Panjim, Goa and at the International Film Festival Goa, Panjim. 


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Artists that have influenced Katharina’s thinking processes are, among many others, Richard Serra’s “participatory” approach; Marina Abramović’s confronting and drawing the visitor into issues of trust, endurance, catharsis and departure; William Kentridge’s ambiguous storytelling and uncertain endings; Louise Bourgeois battle with the inner strangeness; and Christian Boltanski’s raw exposure of loss. 

In the beginning of her artistic journey, as a self-taught visual artist, Katharina experimented with many different materials, such as dried mummified fish (left), metals and found objects. 

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In 2014, she participated in the group Show “Janela”, a collateral event at Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kerala. 

2012 / 2013

She started to work full time on her art in 2012, setting up a studio in her house in Goa.

Her works, “Women, Bodies, Goddesses” were shown as a solo show at Sunaparanta, Centre for the Arts, Panjim, Goa (2013) and at the “United Art Fair”, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi (2013). 

Katharina’s laboratory to create and discover different art forms, while growing up, was the basement in her parent’s house, where her mother introduced her to many techniques and materials: drawing, painting, etching, batik, pottery. 

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Together with artist Subodh Kerkar, she created the performance-installation “Unsung in Life, Unclaimed in Death” for Sarai Reader 09, Raqs Media Collective at the Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi (2012)

The performance-installation highlighted the issue that thousands of dead bodies lie unclaimed in the morgues, railway tracks and roads in India. In New Delhi alone, more than ten bodies of the homeless people are disposed off daily without any mourners. Three death masks of unclaimed bodies from a hospital morgue were created in translucent fibre glass, back-lit and mounted on a panel on the wall. Death masks were a tool in Europe in the 18th and 19th century to preserve the identity of unknown bodies, before photography was invented. Death masks were also a means to preserve the faces of royalty and well-known people such as composers and poets of the time. In ancient Rome, death masks were subsequently used to make marble sculptures and busts in memory of the deceased.

Further, a large sleeping head, adapted from Constantine Brancusi’s sleeping muse, was created as a memorial for the unknown dead, placed in front of the mounted death masks.

Solo Exhibitions


Crossing the Lakshmana Rekha: Shakti, Sensuality, Sexuality

Goethe Zentrum, Hyderabad @ Kalakriti Art Festival, Hyderabad


Flow of Power

Gallery Gitanjali, Panjim, Goa


Crossing the Lakshmana Rekha: Shakti, Sensuality, Sexuality

Gallery Latitude 28 / India Habitat Centre Gallery, New Delhi  


Women, Bodies, Goddesses

Sunaparanta, Centre for the Arts, Panjim, Goa

Group Exhibitions


Persistence of Memory

The Project Cafe Goa, Assagao, 

curated by Kakar Art Collective


Art for Kerala

National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, 

curated by Sushmit Sharma

Gaj Yatra

Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, 

curated by Dr. Alka Pande for Wildlife Trust India



Cube Gallery, Moira, Goa

Video Vortex

Collateral event @ Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kerala

Crossing the Lakshmana Rekha: Shakti, Sensuality, Sexuality

Installations at the Hyderabad Literature Festival


The Power of Art

Serendipity Arts Festival, Panjim, Goa (installation done with 17 marginalized children)

The Measure of all Things. Rethinking Humanism through Art

Department of Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York 


International Film Festival Goa

Panjim, Goa   


And Still I Rise

Instituto Cervantes (Cultural Centre of Spain), New Delhi   

Tales from Darkness

Sunaparanta, Centre for the Arts, Panjim, Goa   

Kama, Interrupted

Gitanjali Gallery, Panjim, Goa 



collateral event @ Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kerala


United Art Fair

Pragati Maidan, New Delhi  


Unsung in Life, Unclaimed in Death (Performance-Installation)

Sarai reader 09, Raqs Media Collective, Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi

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