Bharti Kher’s Ancestor in Doris C. Freedman Plaza

ancestor statue photo by gail worley
All Photos by Gail Worley

Bharti Kher (b. 1969, London, UK) connects New Delhi and New York with this nearly 18 foot tall bronze Universal Mother figure, entitled Ancestor (2022) which is her most ambitious artwork today. Its source is a miniature statue from the artist’s “intermediaries“ series, assembled by recomposing broken clay figurines. Kher finds these small objects in secondhand markets in India, where she moved in 1992 after being raised and educated in the United Kingdom.

full side view of ancestor photo by gail worley

This colossal sculpture reflects Kher’s cross-cultural identity and her appreciation for India’s rich material culture. Every meaning-laden detail and distressed surface of the original handcrafted object has been meticulously magnified to reflect the journey of this matriarch’s creation.

rear view of ancestor photo by gail worley

In contrast to urban statuary that commemorates historic individuals are events, Ancestor enters the public space as an allegorical representation paying homage to both the generations that came before and those to follow.

side view of ancestor photo by gail worley

Kher’s monumental monument echoes the Spirit of the Statue of Liberty. She is an empowered force fostering a diverse community– a hybrid figure who is symbolic references to multiculturalism and plurality embody the possibility of an interconnected space of belonging and care.

installation view ancestor statue photo by gail worley

Ancestor will be on Display at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza Entrance to Central Park, at 60th Street and 5th Avenue, Through August 27th, 2023.

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