01 Feb

Depicting Her Essence

Depicting Her Essence, acrylic painting with henna

Depicting Her Essence, 2018

Painting is a process of transforming or protecting and sprucing up the surface of a canvas or a fence or even a wall.  The process of henna however is that of giving or making, much like baking or making organic fuel by making cow patties that are slapped on a vertical surface such as an exterior wall, in neat rows, to dry in the sun.

The purpose of henna or baking unlike painting is creating something for consumption, something with an application, namely beautification of the body.  These works all use henna as a medium and tell a story about women.

A Suitable Girl, sculpture

A Suitable Girl, sculpture





If the market value of a bride could be determined, it would include the services that she has the potential to provide, such as the ability to do house work, inheritance or a salary that she might be drawing that may eventually be contributed towards
the household.

“Average height”, “medium complexion” are adjectives often used to describe a girl with relatively modest appearance in classified ads for girls of marriageable age, not that different from those on online forums.  Depicting Her Essence encompasses an understanding that the spirit of a person supersedes her physical attributes, much like a light that a person carries
within herself.


14 Dec

Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful Boy!

Michelangelo’s obsession with the human body especially those of young muscular, preferably adolescent youth, with minimal bodily hair is evident in his works. Today, our consciousness has evolved, so like Kevin Spacey, he too, if discovered, might have been ostracized for his persuasion.  The most notable is perhaps his rendition of Risen Christ who is a young boy without beard or pubic hair, his nakedness in full glory for all to perceive.   I should perhaps mention that a visit to the Met, Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer is the reason for such rambling…

The Risen Christ is monumental since it the artist’s personal ode to the imagined beauty of the incarnate Son of God.  “His languorous pinwheel pose as he ascends above the open tomb, leaving behind his billowing shroud, seems to transform matter into spirit.”

Today the artist scratches his head to conjure complex narratives while others are obsessed with staying relevant by whipping the poster child of propaganda until foaming in the mouth…with Michelangelo the narrative seemed effortless and authentic, all judgment set aside about his preference for beautiful young boys.  He was a draftsman and architect as well as city planner.  Some of his works were converted into objects such as jewelry and collectibles.  One of the first things that leaps out at you is just how meticulous and prolific he was with his drawings and how relentless was his pursuit for perfection!  He would sketch a single arm from three different perspectives just to catch the smoothness of the skin while also preserving the definition of the muscles.

Michelangelo’s design for the plan or San Giovanni de Fiorentini commissioned by Cosimo l de Medici, Duke of Florence, had a circular plan enclosed in a square with ambulatory diagonal chapels, and entrance vestibules – never conceived before him!

His free hand architectural renditions drawn to scale with every little detail as also his utilization of every square inch of a single sheet of paper, both front and back, are reflections of times when resources were scarce and a thing of beauty was contemplated and created with much care and time.  Michelangelo was commissioned by the military to fortify the walls of the Vatican.  Apart from his role as an artist and architect, he was also structural engineer, not to mention a poet.  He wrote many spiritual poetry in his later life.  It is easy to be in awe of his versatile and prolific expression.  What one can’t help but wonder is if indeed a degree of difficulty might be a contributing factor to the excellence in the making of an object of art!  If in fact, mechanical reproduction might be the cause of death of art as we have come to collectively perceive?


14 Nov

My Feet Finds You

“But I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me.”
― Pablo Neruda

To love something without hesitation, without doubt, to love something with reckless abandon, to love simply…
Love – stripped of reason and reasoning, is most beautiful!

12 Nov

The Second Skin

Second skin, as the name denotes has to do with appearances, yet the secondary position indicates something beyond the superficial.  At a physical level, we embrace our environment, wearing light clothes in warm weather and bundling up in freezing temperature.  There are customs that originate from a necessity, social, religious or economic in every place.  How much of our cultural making such as clothing, tattoo, jewelry etcetera, serve to preserve self-identity and when do they become baggage inherited from antiquated customs and directives?  What degree of adaptation allows assimilation and when does it become appropriation.

The intertwined portraits denote absence of directives, in that, there is no right side up for these works.  The facial tattoo, one with the name of Hindu God Rama, the other with Islamic God “Khuda” inscribed, echoes the rising religious polarity in India.  What is ironic is that the custom of tattooing the name of Rama on the face and body is a custom among the under caste, or the “Untouchables” – ostracized by the upper caste members.  The other two faces, one with tribal tattoos and the one in half screen points much like a newsprint is marked with a proper Hindu “tika” (the red mark on the forehead).  These address the neglected and abused indigenous people, the newsprint is a reminder that even within the dictates of preferred religious/cultural/social credentials, there are those women who are often reported dead for the inability to provide dowry.

In this project, henna has been my preffered medium.

08 Nov

Reality Distortion Field

To  view publication from Solo Exhibit, “Please Don’t Burst My Bubble”, at the Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul South Korea

Please Don't Burst My Bubble!

Please Don’t Burst My Bubble!

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

I say, if “film is truth 24 times a second”, a photograph is simulation at whatever shutter speed.  It is only recently that I started using photography as an artistic medium, but always took photographs to capture moments from life.  Never for any assignment or need for simulation.  Just tried capturing what I could while playing a part in the situation one way or other.  It wasn’t until recently however that I noticed the stories that spun around these captured moments, could be woven into a narrative.  ‘please don’t burst my bubble’ while captured on a sunny day in Central Park, evolved into a personal narrative upon revisiting.  This, in turn spun a story of its own with ‘say something’.  In fact photographs are an effective tool to create a “reality distortion field” to put it in the words of Steve Jobs.

Now what is a “reality distortion field”? It defines who you are, your abilities, limitations, strengths, weaknesses, and on and on. This is the reality you project to the world about yourself. And that perceived reality becomes actual reality. You believe it. Others believe it. And when you get down to it, that’s all that’s required for reality: that we all believe it.

The same applies to the event when these tweens find a turtle in a marsh, the joy and collective involvement of the moment and the realization of the ephemeral nature of it reignited the desire to relive these moments, and that’s when they became a story.  What is so exciting about “reality distortion field” is that our beliefs about ourselves are self-fulfilling propheciesit can be changed.   Believing in these moments can instill more of such pure moments spawning an authentic reality!