Project Description

Violence Undone

1995 – 97

Violence Undone, as the name exemplifies, is about undoing violence. Nudity in the Indian context has several connotations and histories of twists and turns. The sure-fire turning point was during the colonial period when the victorian morality erased the earlier understanding of nudity and sexuality. This period saw the churning of sexual minorities, pushing their natural acts as illegal evil expressions. Suddenly, covering up was associated with the status quo and some had to fight to wear clothes. But, I am referring to the peace of undoing the act of covering up. Of hiding. When violence is undone, peace prevails. It is the peace that Buddha idealized. The Ahimsa that Gandhi stood for. The Communion that Narayana Guru had expressed. These revolutionaries walked around half-naked and showed that they didn’t have anything to hide in the world. Imagine, they were from the era during which weapons of violence such as swords and guns were freely carried by almost everyone. Buddha gave up the path of violence. Gandhi stood with a wooden stick against the oppressive forces of Colonial powers. Narayana Guru did the same for his own people. In their powerful ways, these and other such great visionaries and humanists revolutionized the world.

Inspired by them, in my own little ways, Violence Undone is an attempt to peel the layers of friction and fear. This body of work also includes nudes of biological and sexual minorities as well as nude self-portraits. In the undressing, it is revealed that there is nothing harmful hidden in the very skin. In sexual expressions, there is absolutely no violence. Eroticism is also acts of love. That way, violence is only being one upon them, not by them. Lotus & Knife, on the other hand, criticizes the politically perpetuated communal violence. Created during the highly turbulent periods, I was also focusing on the violence & terror that was slowly consuming normal existences. But, these weren’t gross images of agony and blood that were published in newspapers and exhibited in galleries/museums. Rather, these are probing the possibilities of undoing this violence – politically and photographically. 

Undressed   |   1995  – 1997   |   120mm Film Negative  |   Archival Pigment Print

Undressed   |   1995  – 1997   |   4″x5″ Film Negative  |   Archival Pigment Print

Unholy – Unholy    |   1995  – 1997   |   120mm Film Negative  |   Archival Pigment Print

Lotus and Knife    |   1995  – 1997   |   Film Negative   |   Scratched and Doodled Archival Pigment Print

Untitled    |   1995  – 1997   |   Film Negative   |   Archival Pigment Print

Descending Linga   |   1995  – 1997   |   120mm Film Negative  |   Digitally Reworked Archival Pigment Print

Selfie    |   1995  – 1997   |   Film Negative   |   Archival Pigment Print