Beyond_Square Installation view at Gendered Mint Museum Uptown
An interdisciplinary artist-activist, I use installation, work on paper, digital media, film, social activism, and collaboration to construct contemporary global narratives that echo my own. Born of mixed north-south Indian parentage in a country known for caste and color-based discrimination, patriarchy and misogyny, married to an African-Caribbean, mother of bi-racial children, living and working in three regions of the globe: these epitomize my realities.
My works are global narratives of displacement, otherness, gender discrimination, and women empowerment. Efforts to voice diverse yet layered and conceptually linked subjects within broad themes have generated series, social projects, and installations in a range of media and material, including film. My practice is a critical response to dichotomies in conventions, discrimination, and inequality. I exploit the parallel constraints of media and technique to explore and transcend these contradictions.
The progression of a specific concern within a concept stimulates formal challenges, exploration of new material and media, or a return to ones used before, generating a nonlinear trajectory. I begin a new series with an inquiry. It typically follows creative visualization, quick sketches, and deconstruction of traditional constraints of media and material. My process uses discovery and intuition in making, in place of fully finished layouts, maquettes, or storyboards. This intuitive unpacking of media and material has become the vehicle I use in deconstructing tradition and canons.
These are visualizations of stories of marginalization, gender abuse-assault and survival
Pouring Red: 2019, installation, dimensions variable, approximately from 5.1-5.3-inch H x .06-inch D x .31-inch W, plumbing fixture, red yarn
Left: full view; Right: bottom detail
Pouring Red, the first in the series, uses softer material to reproduce fluid movement. Experiencing the limitations and rigidity of paper to encapsulate fluidity and movement of liquid in Beyond_Square series, I felt the need to explore softer material. For a while, I have been working with felt and yarn to achieve these qualities. In Pouring Red I return to using yarn, a material I have used extensively in an earlier series. First in a new series, Pouring Red explores a very direct, forceful movement of fluid with the property of yarn. The forceful form of the pouring yarn from the pipe and the color red are suggestive of my ongoing work with women’s issues.
What Did You Call Me? (Formerly Words); 2017-2019; acrylic on canvas, pochoir, gel pen, PVC, aluminum; 32H x 97L x 37W inch
What Did You Call Me? parallels two narratives – the black person in the U.S and the untouchable woman-girl in India subjected to religious slavery and prostitution. Ejected onto the floor from each side of a horizontal pipe that tops a single white vertical conduit are fluid forms. One spills words denigrating women from the ancient Indian text Manusmriti (one of Hinduism’s oldest scriptures). The other spills derogatory names for African Americans layered over names of slain black Americans.
Left: Beyond_Square V; installation; 2017; collagraph, burning tool, graphite, cutting; dimensions variable, present arrangement: 48 W x 51.5 L x 1 H inch. Right: Beyond_Square III; mixed media; 2016; 18 W x 28 L x 1 H inch, collagraph, burning tool, cutting, graphite
Left: Beyond_Square I; 2016, mixed media; 18W x 26L x 1.5H inch; collagraph, burning tool, graphite. Middle: Beyond_Square II; mixed media; 2016; 22W x 30L x 1H inch, collagraph, burning tool, cutting, graphite. Right: Beyond_Square IV, mixed media; 2017; collagraph, burning tool, graphite, cutting; 22W x 30.5L x 1H
This series started with square or rectangular prints with heavily embossed ritual patterns. The symmetry of ‘square’ are for me pictorial tropes of rigidity and confinement. Unchanging and inflexible old codes displayed within a multitude of ritualistic symbols and mandalas. By employing cutting and other tools I erase the symmetry of the square to create organic fluid motions.
Tradition and Patriarchy
Works in this section investigate rigidity of squares/rectangles, tropes of inflexible canons, and possibilities of introducing mobility within them using cutting and, or scorching.
100 Squares, floor installation, light work, 2014, etching and aquatint on cotton, felt, LED lights, 90L x 90W x 8H inch
Left: Shifting, print installation, 2014, hand cut relief and wood intaglio on paper, 66 H x 70 W inch; Right: installation view
This series consists of four woodcut prints with cutting and bas-relief
Left: From Square IV, Right: From Square III. 2013, Relief print with cutting and bas-relief on paper, 23 H x 22.25 W x .5 D inc