Every year, for the last 12 years, I have fasted during Navratri, a 9-day festival to celebrate the life-infusing energy of the feminine divine, goddess Durga. This September, I did something new. My art practice was in dire need of a push and a nudge.
I came across New York based artist Jayanthi Moorthy's cultural initiative which involved fasting on one's creative process and/or daily distractions in order to rejuvenate or discover one's creative spirit. The Art Fast aimed at inspiring creativity, engaging a wider participation from creative as well as non-creative population, and most interestingly, hoped to introduce lesser known art forms from the South Asian heritage.
My art fast challenge pushed me literally over the edge of my canvas, onto various new materials. I left my canvas, my paints and my painting tools to reconnect with long forgotten skills in stitching from my fashion designing days, and explore new ones. Loosely woven textiles, sacred thread ‘mauli’ or ‘kalava’, paper, recycled furniture parts - all took on new meaning. Pushing me deeper into the mind and heart of the immigrant condition, a subject I have been preoccupied with, in my recent work. The art fast has led me into a new dimension of creativity, a continuing body of work. For this, I am
grateful to Art Fast. Thank you!
A few lines and pictures that I would like to share here…
Who is the alien? The Stranger among Us? Who is stranger? Me or you? Every line? An immigrant from its starting point… Every tree? an immigrant sprout, spreading its arms into the open sky Every river? An immigrant abandoning her icy home for the comforting embrace of the sea… Every follower? An immigrant heart in search of the Divine… Every soul? An immigrant as it traverses through the vagaries of time… An immigrant, I am, I create, the social fabric, I am one I am all.
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अस्मंजस में थे मेरे आँसू
ये ख़्वाब गलत
या हूँ मैं वही।
नई पुरानी यादोँ में
पर शेर कोई मुझे याद आते नहीं।