Waving a finger and barking sermons never made a dent in anyone’s consciousness…perspective is a rare thing, even rarer is the event when it is communicated effectively, yet, that is all the tool an artist has towards impacting change… Shiva, naked and poised, smoking weed on the lofty peaks of the Himalayas, surrounded by ghosts and snakes – the source of all things – is a figure envisioned primarily as a male in Indian mythology. My Shiva, that’s another story…
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?” – Gandhi
The words of Gandhi rings more true in a country with a population of 1.252 billion and growing, a good portion of it unrecorded…governance is a challenge no doubt…the population – a speechless mass for every hollow spokesman without a past…no hysteria or potential fascism, but simulation by precipitation of every lost referential…the mass is all that remains with the “social” eliminated from it.
Recently there has been much rhetoric about nationalism or the lack there of in India…The “outward-looking, investor-friendly image of India” took a brunt recently, so attacking the “licentiousness of left-leaning students” and “whipping up a chorus of angry Indian nationalism than talking about touchy issues such as caste—and better than promoting narrow “Hindu” causes such as protecting cows from beef-eating Muslims and Christians.” Perhaps serves Modi and his cronies better.
Masks have been used in cultures across the globe during celebrations or initiation ceremonies. The persona, according to Carl Jung, was the social face the individual presented to the world—”a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and on the other to conceal the true nature of the individual. About Picasso, he said, that the artist resorted to African masks as a means to exorcising his inner demons. Among the African tribes, masks were often times what a blue pinstriped suite is to modern man.
At the Brooklyn Musuem, the “Disguise: Masks and Global African Art” the function of masks is described as: “expose hidden issues, and to challenge the status quo”.
My Input Output which debuted at the Torpedo Art Factory and the Lalit Kala Academy in 2011 was a means of initiating transformation through projection.
The significance of skin deep – something on the surface, generally known to be superficial…sometimes however the surface has the story written all over it…yes, there is race and the cultural stigma that goes along with it in some parts of the world…but how do you explain women having their faces burned with acid by men. Men who think that somehow these women do not deserve their own skin? What I thought was an occasional occurrence seems to be rather common place, evident from a write up on women who fought back against the misfortune of having their faces disfigured by running a café in the Taj Mahal complex, thus forging their financial independence. They came to power by becoming successful at what they did – embracing their own skin, burns and all!
Speaking one’s mind should be a birth right, albeit when we think of it, it is in some way compromised. A protest rally in a prominent university in New Delhi leading to police arrest raised polarized reaction among the people. The split between freedom of speech and honoring the nation arose from burning the national flag. The religious tension in the country does not exactly abate the situation or threat to national security…. The process, heightened by mass media with resultant public outcry expressed effortlessly by the click of a mouse on social media, essentially led to the onset of a process that neutralizes social relations. “Social” – an alibi for universal discourse no longer analyses or designates anything! It appears only to conceal defiance, it conceals that it is only abstraction and residue, a simulation and illusion of “Social”.