sss ~ Memory and the Maximum City

sss ~ Memory and the Maximum City

"In this talk held at the Godrej India Culture Lab on 9th January 2015, Anusha Yadav (founder of the Indian Memory Project) and Dr. Indira Chowdhury (President of the International Oral History Association) took the audience on a nostalgic journey of the city's past using sound, photographs and much more. Artist Ali Akbar Mehta who displayed his exhibit titled 'Site: Stage: Structure' at the event was also part of the Q&A that took place after the presentations."

Memory and Maximum City was one of my first talks as an artist. Here I
presented some of the work shown during SITE : STAGE : STRUCTURE, a transmedia
archival installation of my four year engagement with Mazgaon and its several
microcommunities. At this talk I spoke about the process of how my journey
with this project began and in the subsequent conversation with members of the
audience and fellow speakers, discussed the importance of alternative methods
of history-building and the importance of oral histories.

To Whomsoever it May Concern

To Whomsoever it May Concern, 2018, mixed media on Sandstone, A set of 5 pieces, size variable

'To Whomsoever It May Concern' is a letter, an appeal, a supplication.

It is a tableaux, an image, a reality that we are all too familiar with.

It is not the first, nor the last... it lays bare the scars of war: fear, trauma and precarious memory.

Small is Beautiful – II

TAO Art Gallery, Mumbai

Planktonian People I, 2013, ink on paper, 16.5(h) x 23.25(w) inches
Planktonian People II, 2013, ink on paper, 16.5(h) x 23.25(w) inches

Unselfed Extended

Planktonian People, 2014
Planktonian People, 2014
Planktonian People, 2014

Unselfed Extended is a mix media body of work that includes a series of drawings/copper plate etchings, prosthetic sculpture/masks and other props/objects. It is an interpretive work based on and furthering the artistic vision of an 80 minute performance of the same name. It is a search for a hybrid form, one which invites the viewer to engage simply with bodies moving in space, with gestures, with objects, movement, images and the spoken word...

Conceptual drawings, text and other visuals are often used to aid the performers to construct a composite work such as a performance. Creating conceptual drawings based on a finished performance is to reverse engineer the process – here, the performance is the seed, the starting point. The drawings circumvent the constraints of a live performance by entering the domain of abstract and surreal imagery.

Within the context of the performance, they are ghosts – mirrors reflecting the performers in a heightened sense of reality as well characters within the performance. The images, the performance and the interaction between them, indicate an imaginative space where the audience/viewer react simultaneously to all three and so further the open ended dialogue that is the aim of the original performance.

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Tasher Desh

Tasher Desh (Kingdom of Cards), 2012, Lenticular and Vinyl print on archival board, 88x114 cm / 57x92 cm

Tagore was inspired by Alice in Wonderland and Western opera when he wrote the dance opera Tasher Desh - a satirical portrayal of a society ruled by strict conventions and a veiled criticism of the society he lived in.

Today the Kingdom of cards is not an element of fantasy, but a reality embodied in today’s world; the city, society and the homes we belong to. The intertwined strands of the orthodox and the liberal and our society’s continuing failure to separate the two have created a dual discourse – a conflict between the real and fictional – the visible and invisible – the actual and the aspirational. This work engages with our conflicting dual identities overlapping them, forcing them to coexist, dissolving the barriers between them.

Placebo Singers

Placebo Singers, 2015, graphite and charcoal on Hahnemühle paper

The League of Superheroes

League of Superheroes, 2013, Lenticular and vinyl on archival mount, 60 x 48 in

The guardians of the Multiverse created a vast legion of Heroes called the chosen... A handful of carefully selected mortals – plus one extradimensional being whose place in all this is a mystery. It is because of them we're here, because of their sacrifice – a sacrifice of everything we know to be normal.

The Superhero Series

The Superhero Series is a suite of digitally painted photographs and made as archival lenticular prints.

The Harlequin Series

To Glory in Self like some kind of New Monster, 2010, Archival print on Hahnemuhle paper, 182 x 121 cm.jpg
Safdar, 2010, Archival print on Hahnemuhle paper, 152 x 213 cm
Icarus finds his wings again, 2010, Archival print on Hahnemuhle paper, 182 x 121 cm
Caught Somewhere in Time, 2010, Archival print on Hahnemuhle paper, 182 x 152 cm
All that was Solid is Liquid again, 2010, Archival print on archival paper, 229 x 152 cm
Soliloquies in the Garden of Earthly Delights, 2011, Archival print on Hahnemuhle paper, 229 x 152 cm
The Ascension of Karna, 2010, Archival print on Hahnemuhle paper, 121 x 91.5 cm
Karnabhaaram, 2010, Archival print on archival paper, 91.5 x 91.5 cm

The Harlequin

The Harlequin appears in Dante's Inferno "roaming the streets with a band of devils, searching for souls to drag back to Hell"; In Medieval French miracle plays; to more positive and mystical interpretations with a multi-colored diamond-patterned costume that embodies the many-sidedness and richness of life.

The Harlequin - almost Dionysian in the liberating chaos of life is in opposition to the central figure of the canvas works - the Hero of human myth - Apollonian in seeking order and fulfilling his destiny. The Harlequin is a prankster and trickster, intrusive and greedy, always ready to lie, an anarchist reveling in chaos. But he is also witty and carefree, exuding innocence and naiveté. He is nimble and light, made of air, physically and morally flexible. He is an embodiment, simultaneously, of the light and the dark, and the minute infinite layers of gray that make up the composite of human beings.

The Harlequin exists is in a world alien to ours; a surreal world of chaos, dreams and constant flux. A virtual world, a world without texture, plastic, strange. The world of the Hero even though stripped of cultural markers and non-specific to any culture is still within the physical known realm. The physical medium, therefore, of oil on canvas of the Hero, becomes inadequate for the Harlequin. The polarity of the 'Noble' and self sacrificing Hero and the Harlequin is reflected in the polarity of the two worlds, and the two mediums. The organic and the physical world of the hero, and the synthetic, artificial and virtual world of the Harlequin. The non-destructive easily malleable easily changeable nature of virtual world of the computer becomes in fact the ideal medium for creating this world of the Harlequin.

Chaos in the physical world exists at a level not perceived by human senses. The nature of human consciousness is one that seeks to impose order and patterns into seemingly random events. The computer as a tool provides a non-human intervention in bringing a degree of controlled randomness. It creates a parallel universe and space-time continuum

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Everybody's a Jester

Series: Everybody's a Jester 1-10, 2010-2011, Archival print on Hahnemuhle paper, 61 x 45.7 cm / 45.7x61 cm


The Great Mother Re-Construct(ed), 2011, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 182 x 152 cm
Ballad of The War That Never Was, 2011, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 152 x 198 cm
The Identity of Violence Series: Sacrifice and Redemption, 2010, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 182 x 121 cm
The Identity of Violence Series: Suffering and Rapture, 2010, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 182 x 152 cm
The Identity of Violence Series: The Last Dream, 2010, Oil and Acrylic on canvas, 182 x 121 cm
Triptych, 2007, oil and acrylic on canvas, 91.5 x 271 cm
Xanadu, 2008, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 121 x 121 cm
Shwait, 2006, Oil, acrylic and enamel on canvas, 182 x 152 cm


Installation view, Ballad of the War that Never was and Other Basterdised Myths, TAO Art Gallery, 2011
War, 2011, Graphite on Paper, 152 x 213 cm.
Xanadu, 2011, Graphite on paper 107 x 137 cm
Stillborn, 2011, Graphite on paper, 107 x 137 cm

We are such stuff As dreams are made on

We are such stuff As dreams are made on, 2010, Archival print on Hahnemuhle paper, 182 x 121 cm
Part of the Harlequin Series (2010 – 2011)


Purgatory, 2010, oil and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 84 in.


Rebirth, 2009, oil and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72 in.

Goodbye Blue Sky

Goodbye Blue Sky, 2006, Oil and acrylic on canvas

Inhale / Exhale

Inhale/Exhale, 2003, Diptych, Oil and acrylic on canvas