Prune Nourry’s ‘Holy River’ Highlights Gender Selection In India

Holy River represents the culmination of the Holy Daughters project on gender selection focused on India. For this three-year adventure, Prune Nourry created hybrid sculptures crossed between a sacred cow and a girl: the Holy Daughters. Through this parallel, she highlights the paradoxes between the respected cow, symbol of fertility in India, and the girl, actual vector of fertility, yet, undervalued.

The complementary short films Holy River—Processus and Holy River—Procession retrace the artist’s latest performance in Kolkata during the Durga Puja festival. Collaborating for weeks with local male artisans, Nourry created an 18 feet high version of her Holy Daughters made of clay from the Ganges. On October 6th, 2011, the sculpture infiltrated the festival as a «deity». She was processed through the streets of Kolkata and immersed in the Ganges River from which she was born, along with countless other sculptures of Hindu gods.

Through this project, Nourry highlights the paradox between a respected symbol and a trampled reality: the Ganges is a means to cleanse the soul, yet today the river is one of the most polluted in the world. Juxtaposing the current condition of Women and Water, Nourry shows here that both are not only symbols of life, but they are also essential sources of it.

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