“Bathtub Devi,” Artists Choice @ Somerville Museum


“Bathtub Devi,” a print and installation of “I am Devi” Series
composite images mixing found images with performance photographs
[performance photographs taken by the inimitable Kristophe Diaz]


Why the Virgin?

An essential part of self-care is knowing and owning identity. In this series of manipulated performance photographs, I am digitally placing my performance body in place of mundane iconic imagery featuring the great goddess Devi. In so doing, I play with notions of identity in expressing the mixed bag of composite identities that may result from the assimilation process: Devi swimming in a makeshift outdoor plastic kids tub filled with abandoned Barbie dolls; Devi being submerged into the Ganges river after puja; and here, Devi as a Bathtub Virgin on a Somerville porch.

Growing up in Bengal, some of my earliest impressions were of Devi’s beautiful yellow face and three eyes. When I moved here at 7, as I had to adjust quite a bit, I would conjure up her bright eyes as a three petal white flower glowing in the recesses of my mind whenever I needed strength. At this time, during school, I was often being confronted by other children as being a heathen, as I did not follow the Bible. And so I was. Even then, I felt Christ’s teachings were suspect in face of my great powerful warrior Goddess, who rode a lion about after all. All through school I was a voracious reader, but it was in high school in writing critical essays that I became quite conversant in the Judeo-Christian philosophies that inform most English-language texts. Now, almost thirty years later, I find myself rather fond of the Virgin Mary. In my mind she is in a sorority of sorts with the great world goddesses and represents quite a bit of the Judeo-Christian American way of life that I subscribe to. I tease people that She has in many ways become my patron goddess. I marvel at Her resemblance to the great Devi.

For Somerville Open Studios 2014, I will be presenting

“Hug Thyself: A Call to Self-Care” for SOS 2014
A Visual Installation + Day of Original Performances (Saturday only)

“Hug Thyself: A Call to Self-Care” will be a six-hour interactive visual and performance installation featuring original visual art, dance, movement, song and poetry. This installation aspires to dig deep into the often conflicting messaging internalized when protecting and caring for ourselves. There is a need for affirmative community-based communities. This installation will deconstruct the feelings of guilt, love, altruism, and destruction that unsettle us each time we consider care of self. My collaborators and I are creating pieces that interpret how we might achieve a more gentle resolution – how our individual best practices towards self-care might look like – how self-care may indeed be an act towards sustainable healthy life choices and preventative care.

Photo by Ilhame Oujamaa

** I will be at Artists Choice Reception, Somerville Museum, till 8pm, this Fri 4/11 – so lmk if you can stop by ***

Artists’ Choice Exhibit will be open for the remainder of April Thu 2-7p, Fri 2-5p & Sat 12-5p
The show runs through May 10, with extended hours during SOS weekend

MAP # 71 — Saturday May 3 – Day of Original Performances Noon-6 PM
Also presenting Thursday May 1 – “Precious Body” contemporary temple wear Wearable Art Show @ Armory