All works 60 x 60 inches, acrylic on canvas
(NOT) ANOTHER WEDDING IN GOA
I don’t believe that the act of creating artwork can ever be totally isolated from myself–I live in art, transforming my entire world into a channel of creative expression, spanning genres as widely disparate as painting, sculpture, installation, film, performance, and even my own wedding, in search of further tools of artistic communication. Thus, when I dared to become an artist, I was prepared to expose my inner-most spaces to the gaze of my audience.
As an extension of this exercise of baring my private world to the public at large, I have constructed an exhibition around my wedding. I feel that the wedding can be approached from two very different perspectives–it can be understood by its physical presence, its external appearance, or it can be viewed in the light of the internal impact it had on me.
For months after the wedding, the external threatened to overwhelm the internal, which was still too fresh to be expressed. I was still in the process of feeling it! And so even to myself, I presented the wedding as the larger than life experience that it tangibly was. Externally viewed, the wedding was grandeur–the height and power of the synchronized firework display bursting over our heads, the confrontational poses of the village tiger dancers, the exquisite 24-course Tanjore meal. It was the experience of the fashion show created by fashion-designer friends, the entrance and exits of my celebrity collectors, the street carts, cotton candy, tarot card reader, and fortune teller in the hall, and most of all, the fact that the entire wedding had been the largest and most challenging art installation I had ever envisioned.
Before and throughout the wedding, I orchestrated and manipulated all of the four elements I believe make up a piece of artwork: the intent of exploring the meaning of a wedding in my personal and public life, of proving that life is larger than life, of bringing together creative forces from around the world and unleashing them in one space,; the constraints of my canvas of 5,000 odd guests (I obviously had limited control over their actions) and the fact that the wedding was not only about me, but about the legacy of tradition and the wishes of family; the aesthetic elements of my auto and the set I created; and the sounds, sights, tastes, and smells that stimulated the senses.
But now, several months after the fact, I am able to create this exhibition of art in retrospect, to address the internal conflicts that were the backbone of this wedding. And through this exhibition I relive the struggle to find my own balance between tradition and originality, to reconstruct and reevaluate relationships, and to arrive at closure to my grandmother’s death. As these works themselves are a product of the conflict between the conscious and the unconscious, the self and the other, the public and the private, I will not attempt to de-construct them. Rather, I will only say that these works are essentially poetic, exciting pleasure through the rhythmic composition of beautiful, imaginative, and elevated thoughts. And upholding the spirit of today’s obsession with reality television, they once again expose my most private moments, my most intimate battles, and my rawest emotions directly to my audience for their enjoyment and pleasure.