EARNING A NAME

 

WEEK 02           

EYES, EYES, EYES...

ARTIST HARIBO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image shows multiple pictures put together to form a collage. (from clockwise) There is a glass bowl of almonds with an arrow pointing downwards to two collages of eyes. There is a black and white picture of a woman with her hand on a boy’s shoulder and a coloured picture of a bottle with ‘Bournvita’ on the bottom right. There is an arrow leading from this picture to a collage of eyes. There is an image of a group of people in white coats working in what seems to be a lab where they are observing a person perform an experiment. An arrow connects this image to a collage of eyes. Below this collage is the word ‘Prejudice’. Next to this word is a picture of a goddess and an arrow connects this image to a collage of eyes. Next to this collage is a picture of open books with some of the text highlighted in different colours and an arrow connects this image to a collage of eyes. Next to this collage is a picture of two women in graduation suits with graduation hats and an arrow connects this image to a collage of eyes. Next to this collage is the word ‘Intelligence’ and above this word is a picture of a number of people standing in a queue and an arrow connects this image to a collage of eyes. To the top left of this image is the word ‘Merit’ and to the top right is a picture of fish with yellow transparent tablets next to it and an arrow connects this image to a collage of eyes.

From the artist’s note:

“Access to one eye is 

privilege

to the other and that is 

probably merit to the 

next and to whom 

other assigns intelligence…

Eyes, eyes, eyes, what do 

you see? What do I? 

Or do we see at 

all?

I wonder...I wonder…”

 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

We are a part of everything that we loathe. Each time we resent someone for their inconsideration towards the collective, we cannot forget that we, too, are garbage creators. 

 

WEEK 02           

BREAKING IN

ARTIST LAVENDER  HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: Shows a picture of a person drawn on a black square. The square is framed with brown rope and the rope crisscrosses across the image of the person to make it look as if they are locked in. Red paper pins hold the criss-crossed ropes in place.

 

DESCRIPTION: Comprises a black square with a white border painted across the top and the bottom and the following words written in the centre: ‘Opportunity, Equality, Standard Education, Job, Respect, Accessibility, Privilege, “Culture”, Acceptability, Representation’.

 

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

"Dear Z,

Even though we were economically uplifted, there were times when I felt like I was breaking out of boxes and breaking into spaces. I have watched performances where I have not understood things within it because it was brahmanical in nature. 

I studied in a Christian institution and so caste was never a topic of conversation, so it came as a shock to my friends when they learnt that I was Dalit when I had to submit my caste (S.C.) certificate for my 10th std board exam application. 

And they spoke about how lucky I was because I had reservations in colleges. What was funny was that I got into colleges where I had not submitted my S.C. certificate and when I started college a girl changed seats when she learnt about my caste. Not to mention the damned debate about reservation where it was 76 v/s 2 and I was a part of the part that was for reservation...

Warmly, Lavender Hippo"

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 01:15

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The promise of emancipation and claims to social mobility necessarily enmesh one in arbitrary matrices. This compromise is often incumbent on the aspirant.

 

WEEK 02             

THE CONTENTS OF MERIT

ARTIST STREET STORE DOLLS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: Typed English poem in black font against a white background. Transcript is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

One’s claims to authorial credit are contingent on structural positions that we occupy in society. 

 

WEEK O2              

GREAT TOBOGGAN

ARTIST MISFIT MEDUSA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: This image is a written note titled ‘Artist Note’ and has a crossword of sorts. At the bottom is an index and  instructions on how to read the words mentioned in the crossword. Some of the words seen from the crossword include  'Knowledge', 'Education'.

 

Excerpt from the artist’s note:

“When I choose to visualise the word “knowledge”, I see a world of endless possibilities, a network of roads no technology could ever hope to map!”

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The infinite possibilities of knowledge also include its ambiguities and tensions. 

 

WEEK 02          

WHERE IS MY MEDAL?

ARTIST JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has a text in the centre that reads ‘I acknowledge my very gross privilege. Ok where is my medal?’.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The achievement of having won in the event “Realizing that you are participating in the Oppression Olympics”

 

WEEK 02             

KNOTS

ARTIST GULLA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: Charcoal smeared on handmade paper in a circular shape with a bunch of french knots embroidered with black thread on the left.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Not all pie charts have clear lines of demarcation. Sometimes, pie charts and their cousins can represent clusters of those who deserve and those who do not.

 

WEEK 02             

THE SACRED RIVER

ARTIST Z

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

00:00 / 03:53

 

DESCRIPTION: Image of the front and back of a dark blue hardbound book cover that is outlined with an ornate border. ‘The sacred river’ is written on the front. The next pages contain a story in English which is written in black font against a white background. A recording of the story is provided to the top right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Knowledge matters insofar as it is instrumentalized in the project of the accumulation of wealth. The common wisdom of gathering knowledge for knowledge’s sake and of scepticism of the courtship between knowledge and wealth might seem romantic, but knowledge as a means to achieve material forms of sustenance cannot be overlooked. The instrumentalization of knowledge is necessary for existence and is, in many ways, the raison d’etre of knowledge itself.

 

WEEK 05             

COUNTING PRIVILEGES

ARTIST STREET STORE DOLLS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS POEM

00:00 / 00:56

 

DESCRIPTION: Typed English poem - “Counting Privileges” - in black font against a white background.  Transcript and recording of the poem is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Passing is our apprehension of being seen when we do not wish to be and our need to feel a sense of belonging. Passing is a necessary response to the anxiety about claiming our right to be respected.

 

WEEK 07             

A ROSE

ARTIST LAVENDER  HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 01:40

 

DESCRIPTION: An image with a pink tinge of a handwritten note in black ink on a white background which is transcribed below. 

From the artist's note:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

My name was supposed to be something else. You see, they were expecting a son but unfortunately they had a daughter and they named her something. They could have named her anything and it would have meant the same thing. 

This girl grew up not caring for her name or surname. She grew up and started creating an identity for herself and she realised that her identity was now attached to her name whether she intended to or not.

She made something for herself – Something Very Important.

How can my name not be important when I feel such joy when it is uttered by my lover in a crowded room and suddenly I feel seen. When a dear friend describes me to someone – how can I not fall in love with my own name? The way a tongue twists and sounds come out in order for my name to be said the way it must – the way I like and prefer it. I am in love with myself. What’s in a name, you ask? Everything – in its own pockets of time.”
 

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Names might be de facto markers of identity. But to make names the subject of inquiry and to intensely explore the significance that they have for our lives could be seen as a form of resistance to the use of names to restrict the possibilities available to us to live our lives on our own terms. 

 

WEEK 07             

RANDOM NAMES AT A RAILWAY STATION

ARTIST STREET STORE DOLLS

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: Typed English poem - “Counting Privileges” - in black font against a white background. Transcript of the text is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Sometimes, asserting the right to not be named is a form of allegiance to those who have given us an identity of which we can be proud and which can be a source of emancipation. 

 

WEEK O9             

PROVE YOUR ...

ARTIST LAVENDER  HIPPO

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image comprises a sheet of paper, the top is painted blue and the bottom is painted pink. On the top of the paper is written ‘Prove your existence’. Below that, on the left, is written ‘Prove your Dalitness’ and on the right is written ‘Prove your Indianness’. Below that is written ‘Birth certificate?’, ‘Age’ and ‘Dalit certificate’. At the bottom of the page are three images in black of girls, one wearing a shirt and a pinafore, a second wearing a kurta and salwar with an identity card round her neck and a third of a woman with a shirt, pants and a handbag. Above the first image is written ‘Get all your certificates for your application for the Board exams’. Above the second is written ‘What makes you Indian? The literature? The architecture? The language?’ and above the third is written ‘What?’

 

LISTEN TO THIS LETTER

00:00 / 02:16

 

DESCRIPTION: Handwritten text in white ink against a black background. Transcript and recording is provided to the right of the image.

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

Depending on one’s location in social hierarchies, a prerequisite to earning anything in life is proving their precise social locations.

 

WEEK 10             

TOLD AND RETOLD

ARTIST JEISI AMAWASA

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: The image has drawings of a man shining a torch light onto a woman who is stitching a piece of cloth. There is also a woman who is mopping the floor. ‘Lights’, ‘Stitching’ and ‘Cleaning’ are written on the sides of the images and on the top of the image is the text ‘told’ and ‘retold’. 

From the artist's note:

“Hello

I recently attended a Rangapravesha ceremony...and in addition to the Chief Guest proclaiming to be an anti-vaxxer, everything felt ridiculous. 

The girl thanked everyone in her journey for a good 15 minutes.

FIFTEEN MINUTES.

And nowhere was the househelp at her guru’s house, the driver who got her in and out of practice for 20 years, the lights staff or auditorium staff ever mentioned. 

And the performance?

Same one I’d seen twenty years ago at another event. Could grasp the same amount which makes me wonder,

WHO WAS THAT GRAND PERFORMANCE EVEN FOR?

<3 “Jeisi” “

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The structures provided to us to secure respect are necessarily exclusionary. 

Depending on one’s location in social hierarchies, a prerequisite to earning anything in life is proving their precise social locations.

 

WEEK 02           

SCRIPTS OF MERIT

ARTIST LOKI

ARTISTIC RESPONSE 

 

DESCRIPTION: A long roll of billing paper with pencil doodles on both sides. 

On one side: Doodles of how the Instagram account of a person looks like with posts about admission to new foreign university, healthy organic food, daily work routines of an artist, relief work related post, postpartum workout, travels of couples, new shoes purchased, road trip with best friends, Mother’s Day post, post about new work brewing and sunsets. All posts include likes and hashtags like the ones on social media platforms.
 

On another side: Doodles about episodes and conversations that happen in households teaching a girl child what to do and what not to do. These include how to be on when a girl has her period, the significance of rangoli design, the use religious symbols and superstition, the importance of marks and assumptions of intelligence, training given to children in classical arts, the flaunting of medal and trophies in the marriage bargain, discrimination in rules between a brother and a sister, the shopping of clothes and jewellery for performances and weddings, the assumptions about good looks, the pre-selection of the right groom for the girl child and the clock ticking and dictating a time to do each thing. 

From the artist's note:

“Merit is lonely.

Intelligence is body.

Access often an identity

And Privilege is blind. 

A natural juxtaposition of the past and present occurs, intertwining memories of lived experiences and continuous performed reality. One that is deep, sunk beneath layers of skin and one which touches but with numbness as it bounces off in a hurry. 

How does one live or unlive? How does one find oneself enmeshed in between the consumed and the consumer? “

SEE-SAW REFLECTIONS

The social scripts that promise belonging, growth, progress and their inherent regulatory regimes...