ANONYMOUS FEMALE

 

WEEK 03            

HANDLE WITH CARE

ARTIST Z

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The video shows a person’s hand playing with a ball made out of black and maroon paper strips that are woven together.

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows the same ball, constructed of black and maroon paper strips, with silver writings across them.

 

Excerpt from the artist’s note: 

Sep 27 2021 

Week 3: See-Saw  

Dear Lavendar Hippo,  

For the Week 3 prompt, I decided to use Bumble. Using Bumble felt strange for me, as I  have not thought about dating or evaluating people as potential partners in years. It also felt weird to look through profiles like they were objects on some menu. And the swiping  action on the app feels even more dismissive. I would hate to be evaluated this way.

Going through the profiles on Bumble, I observed that the things that attracted me to  people were aspects that I valued about myself – basically, I was searching for myself.  I was also surprised by some of the things that turned me off – regular smoking, poor  spellings, mentioning bars as an interest. I hadn’t realised that I was so judgmental!  

The artistic response for Week 3 is a paper sphere of me.  

• This is a reminder to myself that people are complex and layered. They need to  be considered individually and as a whole, with patience and empathy – unlike  the experience on Bumble.  

• The sphere is made up of 6 strips of paper.  

• Each strip has two sides, with information about myself written on both sides. 
• What you can read on the outside are things that I want to share or project about  myself.  

• On the inside of the sphere are things that I do not want to share or share easily  with others. 

• The strips are woven into each other to make one whole - representing a person  and how our sense of self is made up of this interconnection of ideas. It takes effort  to read and understand what is on the sphere, especially on the inside.  

 

I look forward to receiving your response to W3.  

warm regards,  

Z  “

 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

How do the platforms we use to share ourselves and observe others being shared affect the dynamics of concealment and revelation of our own identities?

 

WEEK O3             

MAYBE I SHOULDN'T

ARTIST LAVENDER HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 06:36

 

DESCRIPTION: Typed English text - “I Think… Maybe I Shouldn't ” - in brown font against a cream background. Transcript and recording of the poem is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

In a space where being one’s true self and the freedom to express vulnerability ought to be paramount, it sometimes becomes imperative to vanish or suppress some parts of oneself in order to survive. 

 

WEEK 04             

बुलबुले | BULBULE | BUBBLES

ARTIST KHWABIDA

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 00:50

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: Handwritten Hindustani poem in black ink against a green background. Bubbles of different sizes are drawn in a blue colour pencil on the right side. Transcript and recording is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The complex associations between motherhood and domesticity are captured through the memories of the mother’s dedication and the imperative placed on her to be dedicated. 

 

WEEK 04             

I CHOSE A GREEN BACKGROUND 

ARTIST MORTY SMITH

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The video shows a person walking backwards in rewind and then dancing around a garden. At times, we catch glimpses of the sky. At any point, we only see the person’s hands and legs and not any other part of the person’s body or their face. 

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

“The prompt has taken me back to my childhood when our maid at home used to wash utensils/clothes with her hands. It reminded me of her hands and the way she used to sit in a squat position while washing. It also took me back to a couple of years ago, when I was conscious of my materialistic consumption and sustainable living was my priority. The video has all these elements. I chose a green background because while doing the activity I felt connected to the part of me that respects the earth.”

 

SEE-SAW'S ANALYSIS

Memories of caretaking can also remind us of our connectedness to the earth. 

 

WEEK O4             

TREASURE CHEST

ARTIST LAVENDER HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has a passport size photograph of a woman with the eyes scratched out with a pen. There is a yellow and green ribbon and two origami ducks, one big and brown and another small and yellow. 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The impersonality of a medium – in this case, the passport size photograph – could  replace the lived identity of the individual it claims to represent. And the badge of honour assumes a life of its own beyond the person onto whom it is conferred.

 

WEEK O4             

A LETTER TO AMU

ARTIST Z

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 02:44

 

DESCRIPTION: Contains an image and a poem.The image is of a painting titled - The Maid in the Kitchen, by Anna Ancher, 1883-1886. In the image we see a woman wearing an orange skirt and a black top standing with her back to us. The woman is facing a countertop with utensils on top of it and a window above. She is in a room which looks like a kitchen with the door ajar to the right. Sunlight is seen entering through the window that she faces. The kitchen colours that surround her are brown, light green and beige. The poem is written in black font against a white background and the transcription is provided to the right.

 

From the artist’s note:

“Dear  Lavender  Hippo,  

This week’s prompts were interesting for me, especially the Vim bar. While I enjoyed playing with Surf because it was familiar, I did not enjoy using the Vim bar. It was so granular, so medicinal green, with little lather, sticky on my fingers, and the fragrance did not evoke anything. It was the opposite experience of the Vim liquid detergent that I regularly use. Also being a Rs.5 bar, I kept judging it as an inferior product.  

It also made me think of our previous house help, Amu, even though she had never been responsible for doing the dishes at our home. It made me wonder if she had used a bar like this. It triggered a memory of her sharing with me that she had to do all the housework at her home as well. I had asked her if her three sons ever helped.  But she justified their lack of help by saying that their tap was outside the home and hence it was embarrassing for them to wash dishes outside. I remember this anger rising within me then, but I kept silent. I know the anger was triggered from my own  experiences of being a woman within the boundaries of marriage and patriarchy.  

I decided to write about this memory and feeling through an epistle/epistolary poem  – which is a poem in the form of a letter. I have never tried this form before, but it seemed ideal to me. It helped me focus on someone else’s story, while indirectly expressing mine. The epistle also feels very intimate and personal because it is addressed directly to someone (as compared to an anonymous reader), which I thought would work for this content.

warm regards, 
Z”

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 02:08

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS 

How does the same product in bar or liquid form tell a story of our own class location? How does it evoke memories of a female figure who kept the circle of life going and did it so well that she is not remembered until an object of her identity suddenly forces her back into immediate cognizance? And as differently located as the writer and the written might seem, there is a certain mutual recognition in the mirror of femaleness. Both are at risk of vanishing, washed away by patriarchal time. 

 

WEEK 05             

BLACKJACK WITH LABELS

ARTIST LOKI

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows a person’s hand holding a number of cards with different pictures on them. The first card reads  ‘the feminist’. The card is divided into three parts. On the left side is an image of a woman with purple hair and an orange shirt holding a cigarette in her hand, looking slightly up. There are small white and yellow and orange flowers emerging from the cigarette in her hand, near her mouth and nose going upto above her head,  from her sleeve and on her shirt. On the right side is black and white image of a woman in a short dress sitting with her legs folded. Her head is replaced by a half bloomed rose flower and her body has thorns in different places. The third section is a repeated image of the faces of five women with different hairstyles, hair colours and skin tones. Their eyes are closed and their heads are resting on one another. This image repeats four times on the top half part of the card. The pictures and the text on the rest of the cards are not clear. 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows all 16 cards laid out. The description of each card is available in the dropdown to the right.
 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows all the 16 cards with a traditional red, cream and brown design on their cover  laid down and with 1st, 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 14th and 15th cards turned over. 

SEE-SAW'S ANALYSIS

The female vanishes, with flowers bursting from her head. She is that which she creates. And what can we say about the heart as an all-encompassing symbol of queerness?

 

WEEK O7              

THE ROOTS THAT HOLD US

ARTIST LOKI

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows the face of a woman with a bindi and her hair tied into a bun. She does not have any facial features such as eyes, nose or mouth. In the background are images of networks of branches.

 

DESCRIPTION: The image is of a sari that is tightly folded and tied with a rope. 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image is a list of the following names written one below the other in sketch pen: Shridhar Sundaram Iyer, Subramaniam Chandrashekhar, MD Sunitha, Seher Noor Mehra, Suneeth Basavareddy Kasaaki, Pinky Omprakash Jain, Jaidrath Zaveri, Puneeth Rajkumar, Sumanth M Rao, Vinyana Rao, Saraswathi Anand, Raaga A Swaminathan. Next to the names, the following text is written spelling is new, Father’s name too long, can't afford to have sur/family name, Nuclear (arrow) just dad. And below the names, the following text is written : North Indian, Chopra or Gandhi, common, long not cool, not-big sounding, young name.

From the artist’s note: 

“What is in the name?

I wonder why we carry the names of our fathers as our last name when it is the women who actually hold our families together?
They ensure heirlooms are passed on, recipes are practised and customs are followed, even for and on behalf of the male members of their family.
They are the seeds and also the roots that hold us together in the common ground called family.
Why are they fine with the men being the face of their love and effort?
Why doesn’t their own name shine in all the forms, addresses, applications, certificates, awards and announcements?

 

In memory of my paternal grandmother. If she were here, I would have a story for my last name, a different life and a lot more.”

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Sometimes it is not the intricacies that we see that matter -- not the fine facial features or the flowing tresses of the sari. Sometimes it is the networks of branches in the background that give the face its meaning and the banal rope binding the sari that causes it to ooze with memory. What of the owner of the face, the wearer of the sari? They are only what the branches and the rope made them out to be. 

 

WEEK 07             

CHOICES OR DARK MAROON

ARTIST MORTY SMITH

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows a spider web made of thread. There is a thick maroon circle of wool, and green and red thread to form a web in between and a pearl in the centre.

 

DESCRIPTION: The image is a list of names written in caps: Aishwariya Chadaluri, Niom Samson, Karthik Palepu, Monish Lakkoju, Karishma Manwan, Simran Chug, Nikita Solanki, Diya Naidu, Sarigama Yerra, Sanjay Baradwaj, Mayank Rangupta, Harsh Gupta.

 

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

“Dear Gulla,

My parents were divorced probably when I was 6 years old. My father chose to leave. Me and my sister lived with my mom and our grandparents. 

Throughout the process I realised how annoyed I am with bureaucracy. I carry my father’s last name even though I do not have any relationship with him. It is a pain in the ass to get it changed. His last name is his ancestral village he comes from. As far as I am concerned I do not relate to him or his family in any way. 

For some reason, I have always felt shy to use his last name as mine. I always hesitate to reveal it. I always wished for a different name. 

My response to the prompt shows the characteristics of my last name and the constellation refers to how it goes back in time. The dark maroon colour represents my resistance and shyness.

PS forgive me for the bad writing”

 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS 

Each loop in the web of naming is not the same, just as the family tree is not a playful collection of branches that nurtures lives. In between the loops and the tangles, some are remembered and others deliberately forgotten.

 

WEEK 07             

BOOKMARK

ARTIST GULLA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image is of a bare tree with a number of names written all over it. These are the names: David Valentine Heathcote, Leon Victor-, John Watts, Marcellin Julian Haria, Naqiyah Hasan Unjhawala, Yukta Kuldeep Sharma, Sakina Tahef Vadnagarwala, Sharzad Firouzjahan Pighi, Lokhandwala to Lohani with a smiley face next to it

 

DESCRIPTION: A bluish green watercolour wash on a handmade paper with an Arabic writing in green which reads as "Tasneem". A brown rope is attached to the paper.

Excerpt from the artist’s note: 

“Dear Z
This prompt made me think of my grandfather. Forty years ago, he did one of his cool things. He decided to change our surname to something ‘cooler’. Yes, he didn’t think his surname was cool. So he decided to change it to something cooler.”

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The family tree is an age-old childhood exercise to teach children about (usually blood-based) kinship. How does it feel to always have a male name as one’s middle name? Across religions and castes, shall we speak a little about vanishing female middle names? 

 

WEEK 09             

A SET OF STORIES SHARED

ARTIST JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows a uterus with flowers growing out of it. The image is at the bottom of the letter, which has been transcribed to the right.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

A forbidden organ is the seed of all life, all lineages and all memories. That the source itself is taboo is one of the main reasons for the silencing of its possessor.