Pallavi Govindnathan is a visual artist, a writer, and a teacher. She is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. Pallavi has her Masters and Post-baccalaureate degrees from San Francisco Art Institute with concentrations in Painting and New Genres- primarily live art and video art, and an Undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from The Savannah College of Art and Design.
Calling various geographical locations her home, Pallavi has dedicated her academic life to studying cultural and social concerns that violate human rights, focusing primarily on issues related to social empowerment of women in South Asia. In 2005, Pallavi embarked on a personal research on acid violence against women in Bangladesh for five-years. This research resulted in a large series of works titled Acerbic Drips—paintings based on the numerous ethnographic narratives of acid survivors. Acerbic Drips resulted in publishing a book titled Corrode: An Artist’s Response to Acid Violence in South Asia, working alongside with Cornell Law School’s Avon Center for Women and Justice and Duke University’s peer-reviewed journal Public Culture. Proceeds from all sales of paintings and books are dedicated to Acid Survivor’s foundations and NGOs supporting acid victims.
Pallavi’s dissertation is an interdisciplinary research which is building a bridge between Film Studies, Women’s Studies, Baroque and Renaissance Art History, Theology with a focus on Jewish writings and myths, Anthropological studies based on Archeological findings on the meanings of the triangle from 6000 B.C. relics and artifacts, and its evolution into modern day. This hybridity of multidisciplinary approaches is a tool to more deeply understand the question of what makes a woman so threatening in art and in our society? Throughout much of history, both within a visual and written culture, the representation of the “woman” or a “female” subject is often seen as that of an innocent woman, however if she is dangerous, she continues to be a victim based on some personal trauma endured causing her to inflict danger upon others. Pallavi’s dissertation is tentatively titled “Killer Women: Theorizing Women’s Violence Through the Study of Artistic Baroque Representations of Judith Slaying Holofernes.”
Pallavi currently resides with her cat Nai in Denton, Texas and lives between India, Thailand and the US.