The Circus Series
The Circus Series explores the performative and bizarre nature of the societal expectations imposed on South Asian women. From staged photographs of women in curated environments, to large scale oil paintings of seemingly dispassionate acrobats surrounded by relative chaos, the Series convey the emotional and intellectual disconnect from their surroundings that said expectations can inspire in women. The state of dispassion persists even in paintings in which the female form(s) has(ve) been sexualized. This is a commentary on how sexuality is the primary means through which a woman’s freedom is co-opted.
The “circus” – being a distinctly “Western” concept with little overlap with South Asian culture – speaks to my experience of how it feels to have two different cultures tug at one’s sense of self and placement. The Islamic geometric patterns provide a regional, and culture-based framework to the artwork, while speaking to how patriarchal and cultural interpretations of religious scripture are erroneously leveraged to exercise control over, and enact violence against, women.