Love in the time of Polarization Performance Art Digital Photography
Love Is..., by Tania Sen
Love Is…, mixed media on reclaimed canvas 48×48 inches

Love in the Time of Polarization – I

“Love” in a few different scripts on a shape shifting element – water.  Love and fear are two motivating emotions, the only two emotions that drive mankind. The only two advertisers and media gurus need to keep in mind.  In a free country one would assume that Love would be the only currency.  However, with the deep polarization worldwide, It may be particularly timely to revisit love in the eve of artist Robert Indiana’s passing, who was known for his Love series.  He died at 89 in his secluded island home off the coast of Maine, all by himself.  Strangely enough, his landmark sculpture defines the city of Philadelphia. NY Times reports that “In a federal lawsuit filed the day before, he passed, by a company that says it has long held the rights to several of Mr. Indiana’s best-known works proposed an answer, arguing in court papers that the caretaker and a New York art publisher had tucked the artist away while they churned out unauthorized or adulterated versions of his work.”

“Love” in a few different scripts on a shape shifting element – water.

Love urges allegiance and incites riots coup and wars.  With a deep ideological divide worldwide, one is prone to ask if indeed the flavor of love is changing.  Illusory as it may be in nature, there are expectations one develops from love, or in one’s allegiance towards the object of love.  These works address the  shift that we are be all going through in the understanding of love.  The Orlando mass shoot out and the many consequent shootings in clubs, schools, places of worship and other public places ever since, reflecting the shadow side of love, also makes one wonder about the shifting shape of love if only for the frequency at which it has been happening.

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.