11 Feb

Head on your Shoulder

Since the talk of the hour is about the man who is certainly greater than the sum of his parts – parts that are mistakenly considered photogenic!

Speaking of parts, here’s a male and female part of the biggest rock in the world – the Himalayas! Hope things smooth out for him for I like shopping online.  These were shot near Trilokenath Shiva temple on route to Dalhousie. 

Gentlemen please, please, when taking a selfie make sure to click the head on your shoulder!

02 Feb

Food for Thought

Egg Lady, Food for thought
The Egg Lady

Food today is as much for sustenance as for pleasure.  Then there is food that feeds neurosis centered on health, Food fads are strange, powerful things. “Between the 1970s and the 1990s Americans ate more and more wheat, partly because they were trying to avoid cholesterol. Then came a string of popular low-carbohydrate diets, from Dr Atkins to paleo. A rise in coeliac disease and self-diagnosed gluten intolerance has made wheat seem decidedly dangerous. Between 1997 and 2015 flour consumption in America fell from 67kg per head to 60kg.”

Food has been a reflection of a culture and its people in how it is prepared and consumed.  Here are some candid shots at La Boqueria in Barcelona.

Fish Market, Food for Thought
Fish Market

22 Jan

Coming out of the Deep Freeze

While this is largely a work in progress, the initial aha moment came through while viewing my photographs.  Some of them came together in the form of a collage speaking some truths that evolved as if out of thin air!

The Lone Raptor
The Lone Raptor

Over the past several months the overriding question I’ve been grappling with was to find a way to work with the polarized state of consciousness at play today.  My proposal to Madrid residency this past October was to address the issue by viewing it through divided lens and trying to reach a moderate perspective by listening to both ends of the spectrum in the context of the political divide that Spain in undergoing.  What continued to elude me was a way to pin it down and give it a name.  Frozen in track after interviewing a ton of people on the topic, which was not easy as no one is intrinsically proud of being antagonistic, plus a complicated scenario that elicits anything other than solidarity is difficult to address let alone sort and analyze?!   

Visceral Bonding
Visceral Bonding
Incidental Rojo
Incidental Rojo
Guardians of Good and Evil
Guardians of Good and Evil
30 Jul

Dismembered Soul

When one uses sewing to incorporate a line on a fabric, it is much more labor-intensive than simply drawing a line with ink and yet women have embroidered fabric for ages… is it because of the more permanent aspect of it?  That even if the colors were to run, the embroidery will adhere no matter how delicate, it will remain, worn and steady?

I taught myself back stitch for the sake of this project because I wanted to draw a parallel between a line drawn in ink and a line sewed into the fabric.  Producing these pieces were a journey in and of itself…the repetitive careful rendition made it somewhat premeditated, yet each stitch was one of a kind tracing the contour of the figures rendering the softness and the angles in different ways.  Making these works were A journey in more ways than one.  My grandmother on hot afternoons would sit under the ceiling fan sewing kantha, A blanket made by layering well-worn cotton sarees with a very simple running stitch free form patterns.  She never really sketched out anything, she did what she pleased and that’s how she passed her afternoons in making something creative with utility and she never thought to sign her name on any of them

I incorporated Kalamkarii folk art style into the works thus adding a layer of traditional story telling form.  The borrowed motifs were drawn with a bamboo pen in keeping with tradition.    “Kalamkari or qalamkari is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, produced in Iran and India. Its name originates in the Persian, derived from the words qalam (pen) and kari (craftmanship), meaning drawing with a pen. Only natural dyes are used in kalamkari and it involves seventeen steps. Started originally in the Sasani era in Iran (almost 2500 years ago), there are two distinctive styles of kalamkari art in India – the Srikalahasti style and the Machilipatnam style. The Srikalahasti style of kalamkari(Kalankari), wherein the “kalam” or pen is used for freehand drawing of the subject and filling in the colors, is entirely hand worked. This style flowered around temples and their patronage and so had an almost religious identity – scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners and the like, depicted deities and scenes taken from the Hindu epics – Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and the mythological classics.”

What’s ironic is that this craft whose origin was in the Mughal world, Persia, was lovingly embraced and utilized in craftsmanship done for themes originating in Hinduism.  Something to think about in the current climate of India where there are fundamentalist leaders proposing to change the name of the Taj Mahal, built by Muslim rulers!


12 Jul

Love in the Time of Polarization -II

My works often resort to the use of text and symbol, calligraphy, popular icons, etcetera, to register a context to the viewer.  In most of my performance art still photographs, my face becomes a canvas representing the topic of address.  The combination of the two converts the image into a metaphor – taking away the literal meaning of the words and the obviousness of self-representation.

The Arabic script spelling “Allah” or the Hindi “Om” may not be legible to all, but the significance of wearing a dot or design in between the eyebrows is known to most.  the Arabic script spelling “mother” tattooed across the face of the Allah denoted woman or the Hindi script spelling “mother” tattooed across the face of the Hinduism denoted woman may not be legible to all, but what almost everyone is able to perceive is the resonance of the images to the queen of hearts configuration.  And what most might also easily guess is the opposite nature of the two faces… despite the fact that they belong to one and the same person!

For those who are aware of the polarized socio-political climate of India, no further explanation is necessary.  For those unaware – the story is still about the symbolic motherland separated ideologically but with common challenges.

Love in the time of Polarization Performance Art Digital Photography

Love in the time of Polarization
Performance Art Digital Photography