Maalai

Photo Jun 26, 6 21 04 PM (1).jpg

Maalai is a sound installation that explores the inheritance of intergenerational histories and trauma through Hindu iconography; written and photographic material; and Tamil recordings of conversations between Ramgopal, her mother Malathi, and her grandmother Nagalakshmi, who passed away earlier this year. The three speak about Nagalakshmi’s childhood; her mother Abayambal; her perspective on Indian Independence; and the separation of the family in its wake. The installation grapples with historian Antoinette Burton’s claim that the memories of home narrated by the women of India’s Late Colonial Period created “an archive from which a variety of counterhistories of colonial modernity can be discerned” to understand how South Indian women born before and after 1947 record their personal histories and when they choose to self-erase. Visitors are invited to sit by the altar, listen, touch the objects on the altar, and read the diary. Performances of Maalai integrate performance art as well as the Tamil, Hindi, and Sanskrit hymns and lullabies sung by Nagalakshmi.

Press for Maalai:

Chicago Reader: "For MCA 50, ambient musician Lykanthea explores culture, history, and identity with her dream ensemble"

CHIRP Radio: Podcast Interview

Kajal Magazine: "Maalai: Chicago’s Sound Installation Exploring Intergenerational Trauma and the Untold Stories of South Asian Women"


Where to experience "Maalai":

6.1 - 7.29.18: Reinterpreting Religion (group show), Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art                        
Exhibition information:
Wednesday – Sunday, 12-4pm, free

Performance: Sunday, July 8, free

10.21.17: MCA Hearts Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
Performance of Maalai at the conclusion of Lakshmi's set with Bindu Poroori and Lisa Mishra
10am, MCA Plaza


7.21.17: Remembery (group show), Chicago, IL
Exhibition information:
7-9pm, address to be shared day of.


6.22-25.17: The Power Project, Comfort Station, Chicago, IL
Exhibition information:

Thursday, June 22: 7-9pm
Friday, June 23: 5-7pm
Saturday, June 24: 12-3pm
Sunday, June 25: 12-3pm


Performance: Sunday, June 25 at 8:30pm


Maalai at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL

  Photo: Sierra Thompson

Photo: Sierra Thompson

  Photo: Stephanie Jensen

Photo: Stephanie Jensen

  Photo: Stephanie Jensen

Photo: Stephanie Jensen

  Photo: Stephanie Jensen

Photo: Stephanie Jensen

  Photo: Sierra Thompson

Photo: Sierra Thompson

  Photo: Stephanie Jensen

Photo: Stephanie Jensen

  Photo: Stephanie Jensen

Photo: Stephanie Jensen

  Photo: Stephanie Jensen

Photo: Stephanie Jensen

  Photo: Stephanie Jensen

Photo: Stephanie Jensen

  Photo: Sierra Thompson

Photo: Sierra Thompson

Additional images may be found here.


Maalai at Comfort Station, Chicago, IL