Protest, my son

  • 2011
  • Sheela Gowda
  • inkjet print on paper, watercolour on print, horn, fur
  • (wallprint) 261 x 386 cm
    (aquarel) 60,8 x 90 cm
  • Location not on view.
  • Acquired in 2014
  • Inventory number 3196
  • met steun van / with support of VriendenLoterij

The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.

If you need specific information on this work or artist, remember that the Van Abbemuseum Library is at your disposal, or feel free to write to the library.


Sheela Gowda became fascinated by the interaction of the formerly nomadic Hakki Pikki people with city dwellers. In order to survive in the Indian metropolis of Bangalore (India), they make use of their so-called ‘tribal’ identity. Protesting against the demolition of their houses, they present themselves consciously as generic ‘tribal’ people in order to attract attention. In fact, these former huntergatherers are now merchants and skilled forgers of hunting trophies, such as the cow-horn chain hanging from the wall print that is sold to city dwellers as tiger claw. Gowda presents the Hakki Pikki in the smaller image in the way a tourist or an urbanite might see them: as cliché versions of various native peoples from America, Africa, and New Zealand. This exaggerated yet banal image of indigenous peoples then throws our gaze back to the bigger image of real people using those same clichés to try to prevent the loss of their homes.

Does this page contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.