I am a multidisciplinary artist from Bangalore, studied in MS University. Currently practicing in Vadodara, Gujarat. My work has developed in number of ways over the years yet from the very beginning of my art practice, I have workded in Painting, Printmaking, Installation, Video Art and performing art. My intention is to blend these mediums into an interdisciplinary language.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Saffron Border - Live Performance at Kanoria Art Center


This performance addresses socio political situations in Gujarat, India, done in 2003 a year later communal massacre happened in Godhra. The communal violence took thousands of lives and many were left homeless. This massacre unfolded right in front of my eyes and I went through many horrific experiences and I tried to bring in my traumatic experience through this performance. The experience during the riots was terrifying. The city on fire, being surrounded by sensitive areas, the experience of  Gas cylinder bursting in neighboring lane from the burning houses, Milk man coming in middle of night, black commandos patrolling on streets. Hearing heart breaking stories of terror and violence’s where people were brutally killed by mobs, Women and children who were tortured and killed. Groups of mob came in hundreds and thousands killing and looting the people, houses and shops. Experiences of all this in my closed room with fear of that this can also happen to me anytime.

This experience of fear amplified with time as I could not see any news of the situation as there was no TV and with no sign of slowing down of riots in the city or in neighboring town and villages. I was only relieved from this situation and traumatic experience after the curfew was called off in four days. The city looked very different after that riots, there were hundreds of small houses in next lane belonging to one community, they were all burnt to ashes, people were killed, some of them escaped and fled, only vacant, broken and burnt houses left. It is very difficult to explain in word the loss and pain of the people during these riots. 

The performance was a combination of audio-video and live performance. The video shoot was done in Baroda; the video was combination of my performance, passion of saffron color, fear, lost dreams and pain, the fragmented and random images from city life this shots were amalgamated which were juxtaposed in layers. The video was supported by continues audio of railways tracks, which constantly reminds the "Burning Train" incident in Godhra massacre.

There was an additional audio along with video, voice given by Mumbai based Artist Bharati Kapadia, the audio narrates my journey and obsession with saffron color the color of passion and strength and how this color later on turned into color of fear and terror.  Basically this performance raised some of the basic questions of common man/women, their fears, insecurity, communal harmony, freedom and socio-political rights in the society. Questions like why history keeps on repeating and when there will be an end to such bloody violence.

The live performance was an act to bring out the traumatic experience of a person who has got stuck in fire, with no escape situation, the traumatic experience, the pain of burning live, and the cry for life. I tried to bring in all this experiences, with ritualistic performance of symbolically marking the border in saffron color and placing green house inside this boundary. The performance was basically to invoke the feeling of fear and terror inside the burning house and bring out the traumatic experience in front of audience. Then in the end of performance the green house was burnt. This performance work performed in many cities (Ahmadabad, Mumbai and in Bangalore) in front of varied audience which gave me opportunity to reach out community in large there by spreading my concerns.



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