Mar. 2013, Paris
Here’s a claim, Indian artists are bold enough to show nude female body, but shy away from nude male bodies. I am the first female Indian visual artist to capture a “normal” nude male body. Even when uncovered, somehow I couldn’t help but realise how protected and privileged a male body is in our society. That’s how I came to “Men Are Covered”.
Model: Antoine Lepine
Dec. 2015, Kolkata
Influence of media on generalised perceptions of people is often used to establish a connection between ostracised population and people on the perceptive end of documentary or journalistic photography. We see through literatures, sociological and psychological analysis, lawsuits fought all over the world that there is a certain conscious endeavour to establish a preconditioned norm of class and character towards these marginalised population. We have seen this through images of various photographers who’ve depicted criminals, the poor, the transgendered, the working class or even people from professions such as prostitution that the photographic qualities were twigged to particularity aim at depicting “pathetic” or “dark” reality. Thus, in my opinion this kind of photographic aesthetic stands out as a misrepresentation of the marginalised population.
By misrepresentation I do not simply mean false representation of the people whose images are often taken, but by misrepresentation I mean to emphasise on an aesthetic practice of highlighting the garish negative (in the name of “art”) while completely overlooking other aspects (such as mental and physical health of the individual, signs of hope – if any, societal oppression, etc.). Perhaps naively so – I am convinced that the aspect of sincerity towards the subject is mostly missing in such representations: often reducing the marginalised population into an object of pitifulness.
Thus in this project I looked into the process of image “reality” (an immediate testimony), along side the notion of “reality” (ontological evidence or a “perfect identity” with its referent); while observing the details of photographic approach when applied on field to record certain populations representing minorities – such as that in the red-light districts of Kolkata, in India.
Jul. 2016, Basel
Pornography and anti-pornography literatures have mainly highlighted sociological aspects, ups and downs of sex work and sex workers, but have failed to illuminate the emergence of a new epitome: exploitations of lower middle-class Indian women in Indian phone-pornography. This work focuses on visually analysing service influence of media on generalised perceptions of people.
Practical outcome was a series of art images, produced through mixed medium of: easily available online phone-pornographic materials, hand drawn illustrations as interpretations and generative art through Processing. The use of mixed media aims at bringing us close to the complexity and concept of the various seen and unseen layers that constitutes phone porn-production legitimacy, along side voyeurism, emotional labour, objectification, power play, societal humiliation, political and cultural prohibition that constitutes a very conservative outlook towards sex and sexuality.
Nov. 2010, Basel
A project envisioned during my stay in Kolkata in 2011. Essence of how a woman is perceived in a patriarchal world.
Dec. 2012, Paris
This project was a part of my Bachelor Mémoire (Feminism in Art vs Minimalism in Design) looking into what a woman considers safe in her ever changing surrounding. She was asked to define how she sees herself or anyone who shares her gender in a patriarchal society. She used just one word. Every word had a symbolic representation simultaneously drawn behind her. No retake, no revision. Just one shot. Just one shot that would define what Feminism is…
May 2016, Olten
This was a written paper to outline the visual memory of my first menstruation, one of the most prominent memories in any girl’s life that has the power to establish some of the key aspects of her respective identity, through the knowledge retained from subjective individual experiences. “‘Memory’ labels a diverse set of cognitive capacities by which we retain information and reconstruct past experiences, usually for present purposes. Memory is one of the most important ways by which our histories animate our current actions and experiences. Most notably, the human ability to conjure up long-gone but specific episodes of our lives is both familiar and puzzling, and is a key aspect of personal identity.”
Here are the final images that relate to the various elements of my memory, influences of the collective Indian society and bodily sensations related to my first menstruation in India.
Aug. 2018, Zürich
A peaceful creative-protest through performance art, aimed at holding up a mirror of reality for the millions of Indians who refuse to acknowledge that India has taken a quantum leap towards degradation. This is not limited to economics, but has much to do with the socio-cultural as well as the politico-economic degradation initiated by a people-elected far-right government with no better agenda than to enforce traditional norms. – These norms are not only archaic and dangerous for the society and culture of modern India, but are also dangerous for women in India.
With the words: “Why do I feel comfortable being naked here (front) but fear, death, rape, physical and verbal assault in India (back)”, on my body, – this peaceful protest-art took place on Switzerland’s Rathausbrücke of Zürich, in a safe-space provided by Ritualteater’s artist Thomas Zollinger during Body & Freedom Festival.
Nov. 2015, Basel
Authorship: The goal of this project was to develop a personalised style guide through photography, typography, graphic elements, colours, personal statistics and slogans. One rule, it should have the “self” element dominant in it. Whether through habits, personal philosophy, characteristics or visual preferences – as the goal of the project was first and foremost self-discovery.
Image Style Created in 2011: Multiple exposers on Nikon FM2 analogue camera, and use of Photoshop and digital tools to create similar effects in digital (Nikon D90 & D300s).
Basel, Olten: Autumn 2015
How my work influenced others?
I’ve chosen to display 2 of the elements. As these two were a heavy influence for the creation of the Oslo Night 2016 posters by a few of my classmates.
Feb. 2011 - Nov. 2015, Basel
1st poster produced during Herbstsemester 2010/2011 Bachelor’s at HGK Basel. Plotter. Weltformat (Contact me for prints). Personal facts of life converted into Info Graphic – classic format poster. The context was based on memory and a write-up produced in an hour.
2nd poster produced during Herbstsemester 2015/2016 Master’s at HGK Basel. Silkscreen print. Weltformat (2 prints left, contact me for prints). A self study into the multiple dimensions of the personality of a Visual Artist and a Writer, an Indian-Bengali in Switzerland, a brown woman in a white privileged west… one versus the other, when the overlapping shows the situation that these multiple dimensions create.
Jan. - Dec. 2014
My perception of nature, life and surroundings.