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.
Mothers and Daughters
Mothers and daughters can have the most intimate and selfless bond or the most toxic one full of power play, however it is – it strengthens us in its wholesomeness as much as in its void. The collection of works that came along organically over a period of time, all have to do with motherhood in some form, real or metaphorical.
“Aham Bramhasi” translates to “I am God” – an utterance used to explain the unity of macrocosm and microcosm – a state attainable only when the ego is overcome. These works revisit a state of understanding with a new lens, a playful transgression that questions the validity of the belief system in place as it alludes to the polarity evident in race, gender, politics and religion worldwide. These portraits gesture and redefine a new normal that is already in motion. To put it in the words of esteemed scholar Paulo Saffo, “Throw in the usual round of human misery served up by war, revolution and natural disasters, and the result is a potent cultural Petri dish from which a new god could spring.” Ravana, Shiva and Hanuman are reveled for their prowess. Shiva exists in his omnipotent glory as a benevolent godhead. Hanuman, mostly a devotee of Rama but worshipped for his own merit. Burning of the Ravana effigy is a fun event in many parts of India, he is someone that everyone loves to hate. Each one of them, imagined as a male figure, heck, Shiva has his very own phallic representation. My versions are female representations, expressing themselves fearlessly, in all their inglorious power!