An alumnus of Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan, Mithu Sen burst onto the art scene with a solo exhibition titled 'I Hate Pink'. It challenged gender normative behaviour and stereotypes associated with the colour pink, through the creation of soft sculptures of violent objects like knives, forks and other sharp objects in the beguiling colour pink. This set the trajectory for Sen's work that went on to engage in gender polemics without being didactic. Her work is said to draw out sexuality from living and inanimate objects with both sensitivity and sharp political satire.
Sen's visual lexicon is informed by provocative imagery and binaries. Open mouths, fish dissected in half, mutated animals, and severed anatomical parts - bloodied yet sensual, they allude to violence and sexuality. Sen does not always use symbolism, opting instead to employ images of human and animal genitalia. She juxtaposes these 'objects of taboo' with everyday found objects like kitschy roses, artificial hair, tiger-striped underwear and collectable showpieces drawing in these objects into association with one another.
Sen, who lives and works in New Delhi, works spontaneously; eschewing preconceived narrative or specific meanings, channelling the images that appear during free-association. Her oeuvre spans paintings, collages, drawings, soft sculptures, and installations. Her intention is to push boundaries, whether via her choice of medium or visual metaphors.
Sen's subliminal works are often both disconcerting and playfully subversive, provoking humour and serious redefinitions of femininity and sexuality.