In a global cultural environment where identities and boundaries converge, one seeks to identify the specific characteristic origins that compose their complex identities. These identities are defined and influenced by our history, society, and the culture of our immediate surroundings. As an Indian woman living in a post-colonial and post-modern global environment my identity is a product of the amalgamation of varying influences. The multiplicity of influences intersects both time and space, where localities and nationalities unite the past with the present and combine Eastern and Western attributes. How a society defines identity, how hybrid identities are formed, and examining the ways in which these aspects are influenced by individual, collective, cultural and spiritual experiences are all central themes explored in my work. The need to understand, identify, and connect with my inner and exterior worlds are the driving forces reflected in my oeuvre. My works abstractly express these nuanced identities formed by an increasingly globalized community and question the essence of humanity’s existence, alternating between microscopic and macroscopic lenses.
In addition to the emphasis on visually examining global and hybrid identities, linguistics and semantics are central topics in my artwork. I voraciously explore these structures by manipulating their construction, through both reconstructive and deconstructive methods. I conceptually critique rigid constructs and examine the underlying layers of complexity associated with verbal and written expressions of cultural identity. Whether language helps define an individual’s identity or limits its potential meaning, it ultimately contributes towards our perceptions and our need to assign culturally specific labels. My intention is to break away from strict categorization, which limits multi-cultural definitions and segregates mankind from the global community. Each artwork investigates this synthesis between binary oppositions, such as: East-West, local-global, ancient-modern, oriental-occidental, and elucidates how these divergent entities continue to coexist. By operating in a multimedia, inter-media processes, I attempt to blur distinct classifications found in the artistic milieu, such as high versus low art, which metaphorically represent these strict binaries that are integral, yet limiting, in defining and expressing hybrid identities.
In order to convey the simplistic as well as complex ideas associated with identities, I use non-representational methods of expression. Naturalistic, curvilinear, organic and linear forms are prevalent in my work. Abstracting and simplifying rudimentary forms allows me to transition between tangible and intangible concepts, such as a circle, which on its own can represent a small, seemingly insignificant pebble. Oppositely, adding that single circle into a group of shapes can incite notions of community and fellowship. These trivial and profound visual associations have the potential for both private and shared interpretations and mirror the various points of contact I have personally experienced in exploring my own hybrid identity. The physical processes of drawing, engraving and printmaking mimic my personal exploration of my own cross-cultural history. Beyond these visual expressions of my idiosyncratic qualities, I strive to dissolve the limitations of cultural classifications and connect to the viewer’s unique existence within our global community. These mixed media works bring together the idea of our complex, yet basic need to coexist by exploring a continuum of cross-cultural negotiations and attempts to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary practices of understanding cultural identity.