Artist Statement

Traditions embody the presence of a history. How do traditions get a contemporary meaning? What is traditional? How do traditions co-exist in the world today? How are they transformed and accepted? What parts of the transformation are retained and what are rejected?

Identity is fluid. It is made up of different elements which are put together to form a whole. The meaning of these individual parts and wholes is constantly evolving from one state to another. I was born in India, and studied in London and Boston, thus while my identity is Indian, I’m working in a contemporary context. At a very young age, my inauspicious birth name (Deeti-mother of a demon) was changed to an auspicious name (Devki- mother of Lord Krishna). Growing up, my personalities as Deeti and Devki were extremely distinct--- almost like two different people that I now embody as one individual. The recognition of these transformations marks my initial interest in the examination of ever-changing identities and experiences co-existing in one being.

Experience is a continuous non-linear process of accumulation. This accumulation eventually forms a mesh which is made up of various parts of one’s events woven together. All familiar and unfamiliar occurrences are dynamic. Thus creating a space for multiple entry and exit points while revealing and concealing different parts. The ‘pichwais’ takes the shape of a screen that makes a conversation with the cosmopolitan and post-colonial nature and transitive identities of Boston and Mumbai as social, political, cultural and economic societies. Both Boston and India were colonies were of England thus display an interesting interplay of architectural and social history that this project is seeking to discover.

My work attempts to address the question of what it means to belong to a post post-colonial society. The long history of the world has been slowly ruptured countless times. The society we inhabit today is not pure or holistic but a combination of these different moments of rifts in history. I am seeking a contemporary history that is an interrelation between these different moments in time and space co-existing in harmony and disharmony. My art practice oscillates between painting, video, animation and installation. Materiality and process play an important role in my pictorial practice. Time based mediums like video and animation along with ancient techniques are re-configured to give them a new meaning in relation with one another. Most of the visual representation for my work stems from the art and craft techniques like paper-cutting and miniature painting that are used to represent religious subject matter in India and architecture of a place. My paintings and installations visually explore the idea of a ‘pichwai’ (screen) that are traditional Indian paintings placed behind the idol in Indian temples pictorially depicting the stories from the life of Lord Krishna. Just as the ‘pichwais’ tell a mythological story my screens urge to narrate a contemporary story.