Artists: Notes on Art Making

The Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S University of Baroda is a college to which I attribute deep gratitude for the education that I received from 1976 to 1981. I studied painting under the principle guidance of Jyoti Bhatt and Nasreen Mohamedi and it is from them most particularly that I imbibed my premise of ethics and values, and the lessons in determining my personal politics.

However my last association with this Faculty was in 1987. After an official appointment to teach for a year was ambiguously terminated just after a month by the management of that time, I chose to distance myself from this institution. This decision was made neither in haste nor in anger, but as a political insistence on my part to underline a wrong that would otherwise have conveniently been smudged into oblivion. Whenever asked as to whether I would reconsider my decision and re-associate with the faculty, I had publically articulated that I would return to the faculty only when professionally invited. That it has taken twenty-seven years perhaps is interesting to note, but then the adage of better late than never, may be the most humorous way of explaining this away.

I would therefore like to express my sincere thanks to the Dean of the Faculty Dr. Kushwaha who is also the Head of the Department of Art History and Aesthetics, and to Jayaram Poduval for this invitation, which allows for a new chapter of engagement to commence for me, with this institution that is my alma mater. I would like to particularly thank them for their regard and courtesy in respecting the politics of my resistance by addressing my sense of grievance in a professional manner, thereby upholding my dignity both as an artist, as well as alumni of this prestigious college. Thank you to both of them.

When accepting this invitation to present my art today I decided that I would share certain time sequences of my life and narrate to you the significance of episodes that shaped my ideas and informed my art practice over the years. I see such occasions of interaction as providing opportunities to open up larger discourses in which the process of engagement holds an openness and vulnerability, which consequentially invites a more intimate space of viewing. What becomes of relevance therefore is to engage with the intentions and ideas shared. In doing so we therefore expose ourselves to other realities. The works within this presentation are not always within a strict chronology of time, but are instead arranged to offer an insight into both the ideational space and the linguistic devices I use as an artist.

An introduction normally offers a basic understanding regarding something that requires to be comprehended in greater detail. Today this is the general attempt I make in bringing my art as the subject of debate. It would be wise however to caution that within the areas of perception there are always numerous variables of approach by which to negotiate meaning. All art is born from spaces of consideration and require therefore to be contextualized if one desires their intentions to be accurately deciphered.

It would be necessary for me to begin by stating that the privilege of birth and the gift of education impacted itself upon me from a very young age. As a much-desired girl-child I believe that I have carried the legacies of a female history with a conscious alertness. It has led me very early in my personal journey to a space of belonging where the bedrock of my feminist beliefs could take root. Though we all consider ourselves to be individuals we nonetheless belong within larger legacies of existence. This double space we inhabit of the personal and the collective becomes intriguing to examine in relation to what conjoins and what separates one persons’ world of involvement from the other.

In evaluating my development as an artist, I have always upheld that in particular what is seminal to the shaping of visual articulation is the process of learning during the time one is a student. It is those initial rudimentary stages of disciplined insistence to work through a comprehensive methodology of the basics that provides the vital platform for one to craft ones language in later years. However irksome these conventional procedures may sometimes appear they aid in creating a foundation of skills that trains ones abilities more fluently in the areas of observations and translations. In my years as a student I was exposed to a powerful combination of imbibing aspects of the traditional and deciphering the challenges of an evolving modernity which set the stage for me to engage in examining where and how to locate my personal history within the larger framework of a cultural context.

There was a strong figurative language that prevailed in Baroda in the 70s and 80s and it is within this milieu that I absorbed influences. Emotive issues related to cultural identity in a post-colonial history were being examined. I chose the territory of personal histories and so employed a simple naturalism in my early works to talk about a private world that my outer countenance camouflaged. The methodologies of enquiry that built up our data-base of information were through personal research and reading as a daily practice. The college was also a space of disciplined teaching that inculcated, quite rigorously, a theoretical and art historical framework of the fundamental principles of visual arts. A political consciousness was also prevalent that enabled the students to realize their individual premises as visual artists and to therefore contextualize personal positions of affiliation linguistically by which to define self-representation. Though the Faculty of Fine Arts did not hold the specific space of feminist discourse in those days what it did offer was an educational climate that was diverse; and where cultural information from both local and global influences were prevalent and encouraged. This therefore allowed me as a student to engage with gender enquiries and formulate my personal politics as a visual artist.

I completed my BA in painting from Baroda in 1981. I joined the MA program for a year and worked at the college in the private studio of Sri Jyoti Bhatt that was situated in those days, near the library. This year was like a sabbatical and provided me the space to reflect upon my pictorial language. I produced a series of intimate sized imaginary portraits that was a complete departure from my early narrative oil of the time. This proved a hugely significant shift in the direction of my work.

In 1982 I went to London on an Inlaks scholarship choosing out of 11 admissions available to me in America and 6 in the United Kingdom to enroll at the Royal College of Art that is situated in South Kensington in London. This decision arose from my desire to study under the particular guidance of Prof Peter De Francia whose knowledge of India, its socio-political cultural history, and hisawareness of contemporary art of the Asian region provided me the ability to contextualize my own learning without the renunciation of my cultural rootings. It was in London where I began to re-examine more exactingly my figuration and the narrative techniques that I was employing. I drew and painted exhaustively for two years, creating a prolific body of 200 works. A kaleidoscopic and splintered structuring of space coupled with an almost cartoon like language that was violent in what it depicted, became the spectacle of the large life-sized water colours that I painted in my concluding months at the college.

Prof. Peter de Francia was my personal tutor for both the years of my M.A program. His methods of teaching were brutally insistent of an honesty that embraced the entirety of one’s world, leaving little or no scope for excuses or whimsical attitudes. He abhorred indifference and was deeply passionate about holding self-accountability and aesthetic standard to scrutiny. What I learnt was the valuable lesson that the perusal of excellence comes from the demanding rigors of hard work at all times.

In those days the painting department of the RCA was housed in a wing of the Victoria & Albert Museum. This proximity led to many hours spent in the museum learning how to decipher from what was learnt through art history and engaging in the exercise of deconstructing works one viewed with passion in order to understand its true merits from more objective principles of evaluation.

The time spent as a student in London was of deep significance to the development of my pictorial language in co-relation with my personal growth as an individual. When I was a student at the faculty from 1976 to 1981, India with its oppressive patriarchy had little space for feminist discourse, and I often felt smothered by the overriding socialist and Marxist preoccupations of my colleagues, which completely excluded the ideas of viewing gender issues as a separate area of consideration when addressing ideas pertaining to equal rights and liberty. In contrast Britain in the 80’s was fecund with literature, cinema, theatre, music, performance, theoretical studies and protest that focused very prominently on the voice of feminist intent. Being able to engage with women’s studies, as a designated territory of engagement, offered me material and experience to establish the parameters of my content.

History and my personal self-representation came together in an analytical convergence providing me the territory of my subject and the discovery of a collective history that beckoned my imprint. I was finally able to define my visual articulation within a space that recognized its ancestry. I was 24 years old and imbibing lessons as an art student from the discourses related to a post-colonial context of the Asian sub-continent where issues of identity and the re-examining of the vernacular and the indigenous, alongside the influences of an international art scene, became the panorama of consequence for me, yet always and at all times, maintaining my perceptions and formulating my enquiries through a gender conscious prism.

I understood that as an artist the most liberating lesson learnt is that one’s own sense of belonging is held in multiple histories that form the stories of the world. And it is the curiosity of wanting to know about the unfamiliar that invites us through the doorways of many new discoveries. I learnt however that like any sensible traveler, each of us needs to carry along in their journey as artists the memories of our own origins in order to collate with greater coherence, and thereby not loose ourselves at the alters of the great international/global mergers that attempt to homogenize everything for the ease of consumption. I understood the power of the visual artist and equally understood the manipulations of art history and the power lobbies at play in these recordings of documentation.

I returned to India in 1984 despite the professional options available for me to remain as a practicing artist in Britain, as my personal politics found its alignment in living and working in India. On my return home the figures began to command and occupy more centrality. These works were large in scale and busily populated with imagery that was expressionistic, and where the surface bore the quality of agitated gestural marks. These paintings were like theatrical stages of enactments, bold and confronting, and demanding the attention of the viewer. I chose to live in Baroda as it contained a community of artists whose engagements held common linguistic concerns, and where my own personal history has its roots when this city became my home in 1967 when I moved with my family when I was nine years old.

Around the same time of my return to India from England in 1984, a group of young artists from Kerala were also pitching their tent in Baroda. These energetic and intellectually sharp groups of young artist-activists were coming from a context of cultural history that they were structuring which had yet to be documented; yet which was a palpable intervention with resulting consequences such as their strike in 1979 at the Trivandrum art college that introduced educational reform. I refer in particular to K.P Krishnakumar, Ashokan Poduval, Alex Mathew, N. N. Rimzon and Surendran Nair. Though often not always belonging completely in sync with the political views that were being floated by some at a later date as a cultural manifesto, these six young artists nonetheless infused the environment with new enquiries related to figuration as well as re-addressing the old canons that formulated the interpretations of post-independence art in India. K.P Krishnakumaran went on to become a founder member of the Indian Radical Painters and Sculptors association in 1987. These artists became friends and colleagues with whom I shared a feisty intellectual relationship that encompassed the passions of the prevailing issues of that time, and where the battleground of discourse was the catalyst to the production of our art.

The assimilation of a personal pictorial language is almost always a hard won process. Many influences are gathered and many areas of teachings resisted- and between this tightrope act of balancing how much to absorb and what to reject, an informed and critical aesthetical space is finally arrived at. These years were invigorating and charged with an energy that was fueled by the desire to hold a self- designated responsibility as an artist.

My personal choices as a woman have always been outside the prescriptive, and so the attitudes of traditional mindsets that prefer conformity continuously make a challenging backdrop within which I set the stage of my own existence. I believe I have had the opportunities to re-examine and reformulate more purposefully than if this had not been the case. The areas of the marginal are always morefraught with tensions, yet it is this precise energy of conflict that provides greater possibilities of clarity to be realized. In the personal narrative of my biography, on the 10th of June 1977 whilst still a student and with the complete approval of my family, I married my friend who was a foreign student from Thailand. I was diagnosed with issues of infertility soon after my marriage and was medically advised to conceive if I desired to have a child, and so my son Mithun was born on the 2nd of November 1978, when I was twenty years old. Unfortunately my marriage broke down whilst I was expecting, and so I filed for a divorce that was sanctioned in 1983. I met the challenges of being a single parent undeterred, and as Mithun was a much desired and planned addition to my life, there was therefore never any quandary regarding this lifelong commitment of the responsibility to parent and nurture. Being a parent at a young age offered me invaluable experiences that propelled my energies with more focus than if I had been absent of such responsibilities. I therefore always acknowledge the debt I owe to my son for the gift of this maturity and for the delight of rediscovering innocence.

I have always had strong views about monetary independence for women and from the age of 18 onwards I have been financially independent. I did commercial photography after learning it as my subsidiary subject under the tutelage of Jyoti Bhatt, and also sold my art works at nominal prices through alternative practices such as pavement exhibitions collectively organized by us as students, and through architect friends in Baroda who were purchasing on behalf for the interiors of their clients. As a student I also worked part time at Urja art Gallery which was housed in those days at the planetarium in Kamatibaug, and at other travelling textile or craft exhibitions that came to Baroda. I was keenly aware of structuring my life with a practicality and a decisiveness that desired to implement my feminist beliefs. It is important to note that my insistence on economic independence at such a young age was not a result of family discord, but was in fact a tribute to the upbringing that had nurtured these ideals of empowerment since I was born. I grew up in a post-independence urban nuclear middle class family, embraced by liberal ideas and intellectual freedom that supported informed opinions; and which evidenced actions that were pro choice. My parents were at all times accepting and encouraging of the directions I presented as necessary and meaningful for myself, from which to inculcate a philosophy of values as guidelines to my personal life.

In 1985 my friendship with Surendran Nair widened to include our commitment to conjoin our personal lives and to become a family. This partnership of 29 years is a relationship that keeps at its core of love our engagement with one another as artists at all times uncompromised, and holding as precious the need to be truthful to ourselves as individuals so as to honour the personal journeys that have shaped our mental landscapes.

I commenced on my professional career as a practicing artist immediately on the completion of my university education in 1984. I was approached by Mr. Ibrahim Alkazi when still at the Royal College of Art in London, who then invited me to exhibit with the Art Heritage Gallery in Delhi, and also offered me a contract for three years with no stipulations other than to just concentrate on my studio practice on my return to India. This act of faith unasked for, gifted me a space of concentrated time to consolidate my focus and work uninterrupted as a young professional.

My relationships with the galleries I have been associated with over the last thirty years have always been an allegiance of faith. It has been a conscious and considered choice right from the inception of my career to work only through a gallery system, and with one principle gallery at any given time. I desire to uphold an association of fidelity, and my associations since 1987 have never been contracted, yet are positioned to hold loyalty that stems from my own values and work ethics.

By maintaining this module of representation, I believe my art gets handled by informed professionals, who create appropriate contexts within which it is presented to an audience; and I am left free to work unhindered as an independent artist. Most premier galleries in India play an important role in moderating the acquisition of art and assisting in creating personal and public collections of aesthetic value. The Indian gallery system has in fact taken it upon themselves, unlike their western counterparts, to contribute through serious publications and forums of questions & dialogues that aim at filling the lacuna of insufficient archiving of contemporary Indian art. Till date, the process of documenting art is still inadequately addressed in our country and there is a paucity of systematic methodologies to maintain and sustain accessibility and updating of information on art that is accurate and researched. Therefore galleries such as DAG and Art Heritage who have bought up entire collections of work from artists, can boast now of magnificent personal collections of significant Indian art which, besides their altruistic reasons have aided in the preservation of a visual contemporary cultural history which may otherwise have been lost to public access.

The relationship that premier galleries in India have with the artists that they represent is also unique and special, involving sustained and consistent interaction and support of their work at all times. In recent years those galleries that jumped into the big money bonanza through art and attempted to bollywoodize the art circuit with the extravaganzas of excesses of hype and rainbow dreams, and have finally closed shop and disappeared overnight into oblivion because their intentions were only those of a trading mentality. Longevity within any institution requires a staying power that can weather the ups and downs of market trends, recessions and auction-house experiments that may go awry. My own association with Sakshi Gallery, which is a relationship based on mutual trust and respect, dates back to 1990.

I have often described the territory of my ideas within my art practice as being like a small garden patch, much loved and faithfully nurtured. This is because I hold a consistent desire to examine the feminine space of survival, the spirit of endurance and the empowerment of pride and self-dignity that centuries of feminist oral histories are infused by; and which cast their shadows for me to find my resting space within.

In this territory of my concerns, I observe the rituals of confronting daily life that require for us to measure our valor and vulnerability with wisdom. Each of us in our moments of reflection will know the value of thisdouble-edged sword. As somebody who has faced the attacks of censorship for representations of nakedness in my art, I continue to insist that cultural vigilantism cannot dictate and will not compromise the liberty that is constitutionally my right.

Mature art holds radical positions that are not about sensationalizing for mere affect alone. Art is a space that strategizes arguments, problematizes as a method of introspection, is confrontational, is often used as a subversive tool, and is not a space that is designed to entertain the consent of another to validate its existence. This is what independent authorship and artistic autonomy must mean within a democratic space of a secular nation. The world that we place ourselves central to becomes a tapestry patterned by incidents and histories that demand our participation willingly or otherwise. As artists we often become the chroniclers of larger narratives that hold both the particularity of our lives as well as a wider world of information.

Pictorial language is often about the engagement with re-examining traditions and modernity within the contexts of changing requirements. Artists take it upon themselves to reevaluate and mediate with existing realities and take positions that then reflect their views. The artist becomes an interesting chronicler of the ethos of these times negotiating through the known and the imagined, to leave yet another legacy to be conjoined within the compendium of other histories.

The balance between formal devises and content is crucial to the overall deliverance of any idea as an artwork. For me drawing is a predominant element in my own work, and the content or subject is pronounced through a visual vocabulary that employs the use of metaphors and allegory, which in turn is continuously informed and aided by those concerns that underlie and provoke the idea in the first place. The architectural space that I place my work in is also always to be considered when conceiving my work, as I view it to be of great importance in how the work realizes its optimum impact.

In my case the preliminary preparation for a work of art is processed directly in my head, and I sort through numerous permutations of a single idea before settling on one that I decide best holds the expansiveness of my intention. The process of elaboration on this idea continues once I define what it is I am seeking to evoke, what the territory of the idea is, and how direct or subverted I may chose the meaning to be. The imaginative process contains both the fear and the excitement of new discoveries; and in the desire to push myself both physically and mentally, I hold my energies alert.

In the methodology of articulating a work it is always the idea that first gets phrased after which it is the element of color that is decided. Strident and insistent, the color palette that feeds my work is informed by cultural traditions and factors of influence that correlate to the ideas I wish to translate visually. The female figure, often in isolation, represents the presence of a life form that bears witness to the passage of time. I see the female figure as being emblematic to represent energies of being a life giving force through the centuries, and so I place the female figure with a centrality of focus. The unflinching gaze and the frontal posture of the female protagonist, demands that the viewer is obliged to participate and engage with its presence. Stark and arresting in demeanor, these figures with their unrelenting gaze stand like protective guardians of the universe.

The premise of my work celebrates the ideals of womanhood and explores the multiple avatars that a positioned stance of female empowerment embraces. Though gender equality is far from the norm as a reality of this nation, there is nonetheless a multitude of voices that stridently call to attention the need to dispel the bigoted stereotype of gender bias, and seek to accommodate the changes that we know to be possible and real. In a world where atrocities are committed against women in the name of upholding traditional values, a focus to redress this is vital if we are to define true liberty for all humanity. It is to such collective concerns that I reaffirm my allegiance and remain proud to call myself a feminist.

I have chosen to always locate my studio within my home, and it is the central hub from which all things get managed. I multi-task at all times as it allows me to handle both my professional and personal worlds simultaneously, without letting one or the other becoming compromised. I work long hours in my studio with a disciplined regularity where all hours each day are studio hours- seven days a week when I am not travelling; and life intervenes into this rhythm with practiced deliberation. I attempt to live an ordered and disciplined life, as this allows me to maximize the hours I can be in my studio; because that is where I most want to be. I however believe adaptability to circumstance is critical for one’s survival and it is in recognizing this that I have taught myself to become a much more imaginative person.

My studio is an extremely precious space of dwelling for me. It is much more than a mere place within which my art work is executed; and it mirrors who I am in all the details that reflect the intimacy I have with this space. My studio has personal articles of cherished memories accumulated over the years and cupboards full of art books that are like special friends who know when I need them most. My library is my life line in many ways, it is my private space of mediation into a world of conversations and ideas, and so before I start anything new, it is a common practice that I spend time looking at visuals from these books. My cat is my also a great joy in my life, and so I often spend time each day before I begin my work playing with her. These interventions help me to distance myself from the intensity of involvement with my work to provide a distance to reflect. It helps to provoke my sensibilities to become more critical in its response and becomes a process by which I purge my mind of any stiltedness. This method of clearing my mind forces me to re-discover the tension of energies required by which to invest the work with relevance.

Though my studio is where my family and close friends often gather as I work wrapped-up in my paint-stained apron directing and orchestrating a collective co-existence, I am however fiercely private and refuse all feelers to entertain cultural agents in this personal sanctum. For an artist I believe the true acid test towards ones commitment is measured by the ability to sustain ones passions unobserved in one’s own personal workspace, and to hold yardsticks of self-accountability that employs no short cuts.

For me, art is the space where everything I know gets clarified and where doubts are battled and where failure does not defeat me.When I make an artwork I feel I know myself best. I find myself observing things minutely at all times. I think this stems from the fact that I do not sketch, so instead, I draw inside my head. I carry these tracings of memory and they accumulate to become my database of references from which I comprehend structure when I re-assimilate them into a visual vocabulary of transposed meanings.

The choice of materials and the mediums of execution of a work are dependent on how one desires to arrive at meaning. All materials hold the potential to articulate any idea. In many instances the subject or content of a work of art invokes nuanced experiences from the worlds we inhabit and in viewing them we engage with reviving attitudes and notions of empathy or resistance to what we confront. The narratives in my works are never direct stories but are territories that hold parables through which meanings are inferred. The forms that an artist creates finally becomes a personalized visual lexicon, invested with specific symbolic meanings, which over time, reinforces the preoccupations and arguments that constitute the concerns that prompt the work.

As an art student I grew up imbibing lessons from the traditions of folk and tribal art. It is this exposure that perhaps provided me with my infinite love of decorative embellishment and where I came to encounter some of the strongest feminine sensibilities in art in those quiet rituals of everyday occurrences like the floor decorations that bejewel the thresholds of simple dwellings. The Indian traditions of embellishment are very beautiful. They cater to a vast spectrum of taste; and from the highly refined to the popular roadside kitsch, the sense of inventiveness prevails at all times. It is from these rich traditions of ornamentation and adornment that my connection with decoration as an element within my art was first processed. I love the bling and glitz of it all that holds both the magnificence of celebration and the decay of opulent decadence. I also view the space of popular kitsch as being a vastly democratized zone of co-existence.

Site specific and project related works, travel and residencies infuse my art practice with spaces of confrontation that challenge my own vulnerability in different ways, and which force new devices of approach and resolution to be considered. These spaces become alternative playgrounds of notional strategies, where displacement is intended. These locations are somewhat like ephemeral love affairs that are not intended to be conclusive, yet pitch your senses to become exquisitely aroused.

India with its converging histories from over the centuries, that include diverse and varied influences, makes for a huge tapestry into which contemporary life is embraced. There are many ‘worlds’ and ‘differences’ that get accommodated and straddled within this multicultural society, and the ease with which contradictory lives and forms co-exist in India creates the possibility for an understanding of the phenomenon of plural practices.

However today in the rabid climate of divisive religious ideologies and caste politics, that insidiously continues to percolate the political system of the nation; we need more than ever to accommodate ideas of pluralities and eclecticism as being essential to democracy. As an artist I cannot ever imagine being blinkered or being devoid of curiosity, and the challenge of travel therefore creates that objective distance to re-negotiate with oneself critically.

My art often employs myth and legends as territories of references from which the notion of life, viewed as a journey of assimilation, is explored. The photographic image reappears after I put down my camera twenty-eight years ago. A series of personal occurrences brought back the connection I had to take photographs once again. The bodies of my female protagonists now become the site of retrieval of personal histories. Retraced like mapped terrains the contours of these figures are extracted from previous paintings, archived like from an archaeological survey. The montage of images lace together quite literally to become the second skin. The painted faces of these figures become the masks to an otherwise intensely personal space of deliverance. Tall and erect these guardian figures evoke the space of reflection and memories.

Whenever I travel away from the familiar, I am always observant of the peculiarities of difference. I call to attention these details because I fear that in the efforts to homogenize and create globalized uniformities of communication, we often lose out in recognizing how much there is to learn from examining these areas of the unfamiliar. Differences are necessary as it reinforces the ethnographic/anthropologic truth of cultural diversity and thereby culture specificity. Interestingly all societies that encourage the freedom of expression have contemporary cultural practices which absorb varied influences and create trajectories from mainstream traditions, which in turn over time become absorbed into the established mainstream. What becomes important as an artist is to know why one places the space of openness to examine, and what it is that one may choose to resist when negotiating varied influences. In holding this consciousness we apply our knowledge with greater insight to invest our art practice with conviction.

Art is about transmutations. I am an artist because it is the best tool that facilitates my desire to interpolate with an outside world. Primeval and tested, it allows me to translate and transpose both fact and imaginative devices of communication, and traces the outer world to the inner consciousness and vice versa, thereby making an elaborate tapestry of my own personal belonging. The configuration of an imaginative play with forms is often arrived at from what we desire to evoke through them. Art is a space where the recognizable alters its self to become the receptacle of new meanings, and where human experience then becomes the bridge of empathy that allows the viewer to find their connectivity. Nuanced into the characters of each articulated figure are the histories of both my cultural self, and the autobiographical that lends voice to the process of my empowerment and emancipation. Conceiving an idea that gets elaborated via visual articulation does not formulate itself without the symbiosis of both the heart and mind being in tandem. What gets suggested and evoked in the works are the conflicts, polarities, reaffirmations, and a host of other nuances of the challenge of living that blueprints my own existence within a larger universe of collective histories.

When invited by my gallery for a solo-project presentation at the Indian Art Fair - 2013 I chose to make a work that was long gestating as a conceptual idea. The four trellised painted screens along with the old wooden Kashmiri screen with stainless steel cut-outimagery, hold the ideas of an inside outside world of multiple existences. Where the tension between the seen and the shadowed hold the ambiguities of conflict and resistance. What you then encounter when viewing these works is the tenacity of desire to preserve the ideals of hope and optimism that the labor of female perseverance upholds.

What I desire above all else is in fact the deliverance of my own honesty to myself. Where my art and my life are seamed together and hold the image of representation uncompromised and unfettered. My art exits finally severed from the umbilical cord that initially defines its articulation; to be then placed in a space of interpretation and discourse, unmonitored by my protection. It must hold the credibility that molded it, if it is not to be felled into wasteful oblivion. Over none of this can I exert control, but what I can do is remain accountable to myself; always.

Lecture for the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS university, Baroda (2014)
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