Of No Fixed Address
Archival pigment print on canvas of iPad & computer drawings at 300ppi
48x32 in, 60x40 in, 72x48 in (122x81 cm, 152x102 cm, 183x122 cm)
Time-lapse videos of ipad and photoshop drawing
I have been leading a nomadic life. Over the past decade, I have lived in Mumbai, Paris and Hong Kong before arriving at my final port of call, Boston, in 2017. Of No Fixed Address is a tale of my travels through these vastly different worlds. I have combined humorous conversations, anecdotes, phantasm and memories from my travels to construct a non-hierarchical intercultural interaction beyond geographical, cultural or ethnic boundaries. For example, barefoot women in sarees exist alongside one surrounded by piles of shoes and “Home” is hybrid of my home in India and in New England with their architecture, landscape and flora merging into one another.
I am interested in new technologies and their engagement with traditional art practices. I made Of No Fixed Address using a stylus on digital canvas of backlit LED screens and a large format inkjet printer installed in my studio. I used a digital pastel brush to create linear graphic marks as well as painterly effects. Of No Fixed Address is as much drawing as it is painting or printmaking. I have drawn upon a wide range of sources such as popular illustration, caricature, vernacular and folk art.
This is my imaginary home. It is a hybrid of my home in the United States and in India. It is simultaneously located at two distinct addresses halfway across the globe. The architecture, landscape, fauna and climate of both places merge into each other.
The Final Act
The four-armed goddess Kali is a recurring motif in my native Mithila in north east India. The destroyer of evil is seen in what resembles the oval office. Her vehicle the lion sits atop the seal of the highest office. A red tie is at the lion’s feet.
A Moveable Feast
I borrowed the title from Ernest Hemingway’s book about his days in Paris. My Moveable Feast is a chronicle of palatable and equally romantic experiences of crisscrossing international borders. It is a culinary map of my travels from Mumbai to New England via Hong Kong and Paris.
Bonjour reflects on exchange of bises (kisses) as a form of social greeting. When I lived in Paris, on every social occasion, bises happened twice, one on each cheek, with each person from the opposite sex I met, before and after the meeting. Back where I come from, a gesture like this might be considered mischievous or may be a little forward, but in Paris, a lot of bises added up by the end of the day.
Love & Other Addictions
The title has been suggested by a friend who is an avid collector of shoes. An intriguing conversation with her left me wondering how one might store these shoes, a pertinent question with respect to residential sizes in Hong Kong or their sheer affordability.
Khi Khi Khi
To Khi Khi Khi is to giggle in colloquial Hindi. My mother held regular get-togethers with her friends and colleagues where my job would be to serve tea and snacks. Their laughter and giggles were their way of standing up to dominant power structures in everyday lives. The resonance of their gesture transcends geographical and cultural borders, it is as relevant today as it was then.
Coming to America
The image of goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, can be found on the walls of most homes in India in the form of mass-produced postcards and calendars. It symbolizes the hope that one day the goddess will smile upon us. Perhaps it is the same hope and promise of the American Dream that attracts people from all over the world.
I first experienced Nor’easter in the winter of 2017-18. Some of it was rather unexpected but charming nonetheless, at least in retrospect. There was immense amount of snow, which was exciting because I had never seen snow. Snow shoveling was a novelty too. What was not so exciting was several days of power outage, several times. No power, no heating, no lights and of course no digital devices. It brought back fond memories of similar times in India when we would all huddle around covering ourselves with quilts and blankets followed by endless cups of tea.
The Seven Vows
Just before relocating to Boston in August 2017, I attended a western wedding for the first time. The bride was American, the groom British and the venue was in Italy. I have filtered moments of the wedding through Indian ceremonial colors.
In the French family tradition of Galette des Rois (King’s cake), a cake is cut into several pieces, one of which contains the fève (the charm). The pieces are distributed as per the instructions of the youngest child, who does so from under the table. The one who gets the fève, is crowned the king/queen. During my time in Paris, no matter which family invited me, I was the one who received the fève. The special moment of Galette des Rois is set against the backdrop of my home in India.
Brahmanical rituals have been a part of my growing up, but the word Brahmin conjures a vastly different image in Boston than it does in India. In Brahmin Boys I negotiate the meaning of Brahmin from the perspective of where I am now as well as where I come from.
This is a recurring moment so far as my friends are concerned. Only the context alternates between a “sendoff” when I leave a country or a “welcome” when I arrive at a new one. This is by far the most precious and humbling experiences as I drift from one place to another.
The few times I went leaf peeping in autumn, I saw nothing. I was too busy driving. Everything went by too quickly. I imagine making this road trip at a relaxed pace, perhaps like the cowboys from back home, with little to worry about and all the time to spare.
For about a decade I did not have a fixed address. I left Mumbai for Paris, followed by Hong Kong and finally to Boston. My friends and family promptly followed, knowing they always had a fixed address in whichever country I was in.