Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- A View of the Forest is made up of thousands of felt bindis in three different shades of green. They are layered to create depth and a textile-like pattern.
- Bindi comes from the Sanskrit word bindu, meaning “drop” or “dot.” It is a colored dot or piece of jewelry worn in the center of the forehead, between the eyebrows, especially by Hindu women.
- Bindis are a visual symbol of the wearer’s third eye chakra. Hindus believe this to be an all-seeing seat of wisdom and knowledge.
Bharti Kher is a British-Indian artist who creates paintings, sculptures, and mixed media art. She is known for her use of bindis in her art. A bindi is a traditional forehead decoration worn by women throughout Southeast Asia for religious, social, or fashion reasons. A View of the Forest is a mixed media artwork made up of thousands of felt bindis that have been applied to a painted board. The artist layered the bindis to create depth and arranged them into a variety of patterns.
Bindis are usually worn on the forehead, between the eyebrows. The bindi symbolizes the wearer’s spiritual third eye or ajna chakra. Hindus believe this to be an all-seeing seat of wisdom and knowledge. The third eye is believed to offer mystical intuition and insight, linking the spiritual and material worlds. This is an inner vision and enlightenment beyond what the physical eyes can see. Bindis were originally applied with natural pigments. Over time the bindi has become a popular, mass-produced accessory. The modern version of the bindi is a sticker.
In Kher’s work the bindi is linked to themes of repetition, the sacred and the ritual, and femininity (the quality of being feminine). Her work explores connections between Western and Indian art and culture.
Many people believe it’s a traditional symbol of marriage while others, in the West particularly, see it as a fashion accessory… But actually the bindi is meant to represent a third eye—one that forges a link between the real and the spiritual-conceptual worlds.
Resources for Teachers:
- Visit Bharti Kher’s website to learn more about her life and work.
- Watch a video about the artist’s work.
- Read an article about the artist.
Resources for Students:
- View a similar work by Bharti Kher.
- Watch a video about Kher’s use of bindis in her art.
- Visit a website to see more examples of the artist’s work.