Our emotions are shaped according to the knowledges and experiences that surround us. My artistic preoccupation reflects upon the coalition and collision between social demands and personal aspirations. They are often my own response to an immediate situation, that which affects or bothers me personally in terms of thoughts and living.
The fine curve intricate lines grew within me as I grew up. They became tender, ornamental and decorative as I grew up to be a girl, a woman. When social expectations surrounded me I tried unfolding certain aspects of the building up of my ‘self’. My practice is not necessarily a solution to the problems, but are more of a visual expression of my feelings where viewers may engage with them in an experiential manner.
Works are mostly done spontaneously by spreading ink and colours on a paper-base with the flowing patterns either etched or drawn.
The Images provoke us to think about the social glorification of woman and femininity alongside the underlying conditions that makes them succumb to discrimination and sufferings.
Introducing text in my work. Text as texture. Material used are those which were most readily available to a new hostel resident. Newspaper, tissue paper, phenol, ink on paper, etc. Keeping in mind the of safety for a woman in a new city and confronting the security barriers of late-night entries. The process involves many layers of trial and error while the visual takes its shape.
Found an old news item that has been long forgotten. Going through the details horrifies and fills me with disgust towards the “inhuman” side of humans. The news as of now is diluted with power politics and religious beliefs that ironically serves to God and society.
Trying to look at what remains at the back side of a Goddess’s headgear.
The patterns are made out of newspaper cut-outs reading the news of sexual harassment and oppression. Almost every day we can find some headlines with incidents of abuse that might make oneself think of all such incidents that are not there on the news but existing in our surroundings. Yet we cope and react as per social demands. Conventional beautification remains superficially where a closer view would reveal some ugly truth within itself.
Floral organic motif making has remained constant in my artworks since the time I can remember engaging with visual making. The patterns make me flow with them. The lines unique in themselves help me express through them. Their unbound expansion flows like any emotion that one can hold.
The video clip alongside is the documentation of a video installation in a dark room that intends to provide an experience of being engulfed in the patterns, watching them silently grow upon oneself.
Since the process of making the organic patterns help me transcend time, it eventually became a way of coping and of leisure. Through the visual and its experience I would like to question the purpose of beautifying a crude-self when my eyes actually rest upon the abruptly left aside, white portions of paper.
I also attempted to notice how one would respond to the sensation while stepping barefooted onto an ‘alpana’ that is conventionally not stepped upon. Sensation both in terms of physical and psychological.
Some did not, some were very conscious to have it destroyed, and some attempted to scratch and check what it is made up of.
While understanding the mechanisms and characteristics of an archive, I tried to make a personal archive setup to collect all insignificant thoughts and unprecedented or unplanned bits of the everyday. This included midnight appetite, missing home, fun at hostel, forgetfulness, accidents, lethargy, etc. Archiving such fleeting moments, I structured it in a sturdy black wooden plank with 30 eggshells fitted in each. The documentation part of the archive was done on the egg shells. I cut out the dates from the everyday newspaper and noted the time when I ate the egg, and on the eggshell I wrote the reason for eating the egg at that particular time, and what I was thinking or feeling right then.
In the process, some eggshells got broken. I kept some of them to write on later but forgot what exactly to write. In a way, it shows the inevitable vulnerability of preservation through the archive. What can be at all archived and a politics of archive has its role play in erasure of fact.
This work was initiated as part of a process documentation workshop, while clicking photographs of every step of the making of the work. It eventually provoked to make a stop-motion animation movie out of it. The thematic of the work was not pre-planned but my simultaneous study of rivers and water politics and the then visit to Renukaji, Himachal Pradesh made a deep connection to the river.
The “diva walk” that’s what everyone called it after the performance. But I loved the way a child called out ‘Peeli Pari’. Wearing a dress with stitched mirror and light wrapped around the body, it was a walk down the streets of Kashmere Gate, Delhi beyond 8:30pm in the evening i.e., beyond the entry curfew time for the girls hostel residents. The local street is claimed to be unsafe for women due to lack of light and lack of presence of women on the road. A locality where around 700 girls stay is not safe due to “the lack of women’s presence on streets”. There is not a single girl in the hostel without having an incident of eve-teasing at some point of their life. Hence locking oneself up is the most safe option. This makes me question what exactly a conventional “safe” means. Who can claim the road if not the local residents?
The walk-through performance in an eventful way intends to bring out the staring, commenting, slowing down of vehicles and curiosity to watch a girl walk down the street beyond 8:30 pm. On any other day, it would have happened ‘uneventfully’ or ‘normally’.