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.