After two years of intense funds raising, in October of 2018 I was able to launch the empowerment project. The launch included a conference, six days of skill training workshop and a day of storytelling.
I am now processing these learnings through film, installation and other media.
These two years proved to be a year of engaging, learning and sharing. I was able to visit villages of Karnataka to meet and listen to the stories of devadasis, the victims of the religious servitude; speak to pioneer scholars and social workers engaged in the field. I was able to complete the film in December 2016, after making two trips to Karnataka, and engaging in long hours of editing. In between working on the film my visual art practice continued and 2017 became an year of outreach. I began entering the film in festivals and my work got exhibited at various exhibitions across the U.S.
2015 - 2013
Studio time between 2013 and 2015 increasingly became crowded with working on raising awareness toward the cause of religious servitude. I launched a community-based project called De-Code, a new series using print-media and cutting and initiated research to find more information on the extent of the problems of the practice. I made new work with stories/testimonies of victims I found on different platforms. Work in this period ranges from community-based projects, work on paper and digital media.
An invitation to a residency in my city of birth, Kolkata, sparked a shift in my thinking and studio practice. Re-connecting with the socio-cultural landscape of my native India re-opened concerns about gender, biases and inequalities. The need to address these issues also prompted me to inquire deeper; use new material, expressions and forms. The work between ’09 – ’11 marked the beginning of examining gender-class-caste inequalities with new material and process. And while doing so, I unearthed, for myself, the hidden truth of an illegal practice of religious servitude, the Devadasi tradition.
2008 – 2007
Escalating ethnic and sectarian violence in the world shifted my focus to forced migration. Conjoined Opposites, a title adopted much later for the group of work, is a project I collaborated with William Davis, a photographer and a professor of imaging at Western Michigan University, and many others who volunteered in making of the audio for the video. Three installations – Points, Words Threads I & II, and Losing Dawn are knitted and handcrafted with a variety of material to embody the fear/ trauma/ sadness/ loss/ death with hope/ dream of life that exists within a victim of genocide. The works are spatial, multidimensional, and incorporate sound and digital video.
2006 - 2004
The process of migration is like a vortex with endless motions that destabilize all aspects of life (Nikos Papastergiadis). As the immigrant is thrown into this endless motion of adapting, learning new languages and other tools of communication, the process destabilizes/blurs/fuse/transforms merging the old with the new. This series is an exploration of this hybridity.