Vatanajyankur, against an eggshell-blue background, is herself an implement, a vehicle for the Medusa-like sprawl of threads attached to her head. Her ankles are bound and she is suspended headfirst over the large bowl of dye for a full 7 minutes and 42 seconds. For much of the time, Vatanajyankur holds her breath underwater in an attempt to dye the white wool attached to her head red. In addition to her bound ankles, Vatanajyankur wears her trademark pale apricot leotard, and a pair of hands clasp either side of her hips to guide her in this intentionally absurd and repetitive procedure. Vatanajyankur grips her handler’s wrists.
Arguably, Dye is the work in the exhibition that most explicitly addresses the gendered, frequently sexualized nature of labor. Many of the generative tensions in Vatanajyankur’s work are evident in Dye: submission and strength, abjection and hyper-color, absurdity and performative intention. The artist is at once subjugated and resilient, and the female laborer vulnerable and powerful within the larger warp of hyper-capitalism. (Pickens R, Performing Textiles, Art Asia Pacific)
Dye is in the collection of Dunedin Public Art Gallery (NZ) and Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum (TH)