.....we are swimming in the oceans of Kalyug waiting for pixie dust to heal the world and make it a better place.....
I have been thinking of an ideal time to share a series of work done back in 2013 soon after the Delhi Gang Rape. It is probably the first and last set of political works that I have done that grazed only slightly the surface of themes like feminism, oppression and a desparate need for justice.
It was a series of narrative works called 'What goes around comes around' consisting of three paintings and one video/performance piece and a couple of experimental works.
Devastated and scared to the bone, the works are one of the most emotionally intense series that I have worked on where the creation and conceptualisation became a catharsis of its own kind.
Krude Karma ft. Lord Shiva and the hidden body of quivering hope //Oil on canvas // 4x3 ft // 2013
Sometimes when reality gets too intense and unreal to swallow, one could perhaps change the lens that they see a particular situation through.
I began to view the whole Nirbhaya case as a wake up call for the nation. Was she chosen as the vehicle behind women's rights? A brutal but graphically violent alarm for the road to reformation?
The painting above put together Shiva, ( the destroyer or the transformer ) with the semi camouflaged bruised and destroyed body of Nirbhaya below.
The squiggles represent the crazy, unpredictable and unapologetic nature of Karma.
I am Saree ft. The six rapist and their Ghoonghats // Oil and fabric on canvas // 7x2 ft // 2013
The 'ghoonghat' or facial veiling practice observed by married women in India is also known as Laaj (Sanskrit for modesty, honor and shame).
The second painting became a hypothetical visual apology where I painted the six rapists' imaginary faces and covered their heads with fabric. It was my own way of making them feel vulnerable and 'saree' for their unbelievable act.
The head coverings became a visual satirical on a patriarchal school of thought. An ironic blame game- Who should be under the ghoonghat? The Rapists or the Victim?
Majestic Frontier ft. Tiger's face and a woman's body // Mixed media on board // 6x3 ft // 2013
If you have ever been to a national park and met eye to eye with a tiger from the near distance, the gaze is one that you're sure to go home with. It's both piercing and powerful; bold and beautiful.
The third painting was inspired by this gaze and the kitsch aesthetic of Bollywood textile. The tiger's face and woman's body embodied a surreal hybrid of masculine and feminine energy.
The Majestic Frontier became a symbol of power and hope; power for an uncrushable feminine spirit and hope to carry out change at the grass root level.
Nirbhaya, Video// Performance. Camera:: Prabhal Dayal and Sharavana Vana,
Editing::: Vana and Sahaya, Music::: Genesis by Grimes, edited by Shatrunjai Rai Dewan
The fourth piece brought the Majestic Frontier into motion in the form of video art. I used my body to drape the same pink saree as the painting above and painted my face as a tiger. Nirbhaya died in Singapore where she was admitted at Mount Elizabeth Hospital. The hospital was ten minutes away from my college and this video piece was dedicated to her..Nirbhaya means Fearless in English.
Physical or verbal violence is never the answer to change. Change is entangled with education, awareness, love and kindness. Here's hoping that the future generation see a brighter, happier and a safer India; free from the animalistic nature of rape, violence, vengeance and so on.....
E x p e r i m e n t a l P i e c e s
'Buri Nazar Wale Tera Muh Kala' // Tamil magazine but outs and acrylic on canvas // A4 size // 2013
A hindi phrase to ward off evil and jealousy. The phrase which can often be read behind vehicles and on other properties, is meant to keep away any bad intentions that someone might have.
The Chandelier Miniatures // Colour pencil, glitter and coffee on paper // 6x3 " // 2013
The chandelier was a metaphor for the woman's body ; the black bird for freedom and various symbols like the playing cards, the turban, moustache, hookah, charpai and jooti as a metaphor for the man. The miniatures were a symbolic expression of domestic violence.
Words // Ink on fabric // 4x4" // 2013
Forceful Slashes // Stabbed canvases with stitches and acrylic // 12x4" // 2013
Forceful Slashes were a series of saree patches that were painted on canvas and violently stabbed from the back with a pair of scissors. The process of creation mimicked how the woman suffers assault and then has to hold and stitch herself back to together again.
Innocent preservations // Dried flower and oil on canvas // 2013