Blue jeans and Coca Cola once stood as a symbol of freedom – freedom of expression, sexual liberation, and freedom of making a choice as opposed to being boxed into an elitist society with meager personal resources. The need to actualize spurs the need to dream. The mind morphs and continues to seek beyond borders, beyond individual and cultural differences. In light of current ongoing unrest and upheavals in the different parts of the globe starting with the Arab Springs, uprisings in China against government atrocities, failure of economy in Greece and Spain, failure of Capitalism in much of the first world, the fuzzy boundaries of the global village, love seems to be the answer as elementary and new-age as it might sound. Displacement lends perspective to the fragility of an ideology. The self thrives on love universally. Thus, through the years, Coca Cola came to represent another set of dreams and destination. Fizzy Dreams, envisions a world with peace, sweetness and zing, the splatter of blood as a reminder of the current state of affairs!
In popular media, the woman in India, largely portrayed as the mother/nurturer assumes the denomination of a “giver”. When I found the sketch in its dusty and discolored state, rescued by my mother from one of our giant book cases, it brought back memories from high school days when 20 paise was still in circulation and perhaps fetched a little something, however small. It was also acceptable alms to be given to the poor beggar woman out on the streets. It has been a while since the Reserved Bank of India stopped minting such a tiny fraction of a currency, yet the condition of a woman and a mother has remained much the same. She now roams the streets adorned by large bill boards advertising Coca Cola and Red Bull. Even though she remains equally illiterate, she can perhaps distinguish a Mc Donald’s from KFC. Hence, I thought I will rejuvenate the dusty forgotten sketch from my high school days to this new identity that she has assumed.
Algorithm I and II, is a patterned representation of a familiar motif. Dancing Shiva and Buddha stand for a certain ideology in the minds of the people, often jaded to the visual impact of such symbols. When masked in a handful of shapes, it may yet offer a visual challenge to unfurl the significance of the symbols.
Patterns are intrinsically associated with belief systems. Thus we have fish motifs and crosses dotting the landscape of Christianity, the crescent moon and menorah illuminates the Islamic and Jewish worlds respectively, Hindu temples are adorned by ancient symbols of mandalas and swastikas…our intellect converses in metaphors with our environment. Thus we assume a bearded God creating the first man…
Globalization morphs the meaning that are mapped into our minds, thus we have the golden arch of Mc Donald’s painted with Chinese dragons and Kentucky Fried Chicken offers steamed rice as a side in lieu of Southern flaky biscuits in Kolkata, India, where the primary staple is rice. Thus we feel the need to spit out, “the butt ends of our days and ways” (T.S. Eliot) and reinvent.
Wisdom in 3D is a neon representation of Gandhi. His glasses – one red, one green mimics the 3D glasses of gamers. “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind” was the strong hold of Gandhian principle. How indeed does it apply to the current global atmosphere?!
Emersion and How do I Look? Explore conventional rituals and their current global setting. Thus the traditional Indian bride’s veil (ghunghat) oozes the Louis Vuitton pattern, and Mona Lisa takes a purgatory dip in the water.
On his encounter with the series of work using Mona Lisa as a social icon, Dr. Roy, scholar and authority on post colonial modernism, Cyberspace and Voices Dr. Roy commented on the “tension between oppositions of that dialectic, dichotomies that have been central to the aesthetics of defamiliarization, iconic unity and digital fuzziness, between the uncontaminated original and its inevitable decay, between recognizability and facelessness, between personal and depersonalized identity through substitution, mediation and commoditization.” He notices, “All of the images in this sequence dramatize the life of this iconic image in the age of “mechanical reproducibility,” as theorized by Walter Benjamin.”
“Half circle, full circle, half circle a, half circle, full circle, right angle, a” was a riddle we asked each other in elementary school. Well indeed it was a trick question that masked the spelling of Coca Cola. Ironically, this show brings me full circle in my expression. The Dance and The Giver, 2008, were initial attempt at giving an iconic expression to popular religious motifs, Durga, in this instance, thus Ralph Bellatoni wrote in Courier News, “Tania Sen explores traditional…symbolism…through a personal interpretation for the subject matter.” After years of contemplation on the dichotomy of an icon and its underpinnings, would like to view Durga in her two facets, put together in the shape of an egg, symbolizing birth, the latter, purely accidental!