Updated: Mar 6
How to begin- set
6.50 x 4.50 in
ANUPAMA ALIAS Born in 1990, Kerala,India
You were there. I could hear you, but I only caught glimpses of you in the glass. Eventually I gave in and found myself staring at myself, reflected. Looking at myself looking back at me. Both of us trying to decipher the face that was in front of us. My eyes seeing me in mine and countless. -An excerpt from Then She fell, an immersive theater, based on the story of Alice in Wonderland.
It has been something that is stuck to each other, inseparably. I have been looking for that chord that binds my heart and my soul. The essence of my self. These works are an attempt to find the woman in me. A silent transition that whispered to me: girl, you are a woman now! I have been concerned about the state of a woman and the issues revolving the status of womanhood. I wanted to find out the identity of a woman. This must have happened sometime in 2014 when I was first ushered in a single hostel room far away from the cocoon-like comfort of my home and family. The solitude within the four walls initiated a dialogue between me and the me inside me. The conversations took the form of a journey and I began unraveling the secrets lying within the rib cage. They say Eve was made from Adam’s rib. Why? Nobody knows. The intriguing reason behind the rib became the genesis of my work and I began exploring the human anatomy. I have become like a temple,
I have made my form from His form and I am Trying to be worthy of me The rib cage become the spine of my works and also led me to other body parts and I started discovering myself in that process. The skin, flesh, brain, heart, lungs, blood cells all joined in an unending flow from which I began gathering whatever residues I could pick up. It was not just objects that I collected but also memories. When I heard grown ups recollecting nuggets from their memories I collected them too and also transported myself to the childhood that belonged to me. That was the time when I began becoming the others I interacted with and began internalizing their experiences. It instilled a fear in me and I hid behind the stories that my mother would pull out from her own childhood. And I began the search for myself. Who is this me that is tenaciously using this other me for its own tenacities? I was a woman coming of age. It is a project that is still in progress. Thus I am focusing on woman in me and other women at a transitional and vulnerable time in their lives: not the teenage years that have been the focus of my work for the past few years, but the other transitional, in-between years: the ‘middle’ years since I left my adolescence behind. My work focuses on people, transitions, identity, and being in-between. I try to unravel the implied desires and fluctuations of identity that my womanhood has thrust on me. The idea is to not just focus on the universality of womanhood but get to the essence of being a girl first and a woman later. I dig deep into my stencils with the lantern in one hand and a lit matchstick in the other. AS my work burns in the fire of my passionate quest, it leaves black residual lines, which I visualize as forming the contours of my self. Our personal lives, choices and goals are specific to each of us, but the issues are often universal when seen in the larger picture. The choice of subject for this body of work is an organic and natural one. I am a ‘woman coming of age’, just starting to feel like an adult myself. And I am aware of the fact that I might have to take on the roles of mother, wife, partner and daughter and with time they will all be redefined. I have immediate knowledge of how a woman perceives herself and is perceived, and realise that she is often undergoing similar transitions and can be as vulnerable as the young woman coming of age, the me in me, that I have etched over the past few years. It is not only how a woman sees herself and is seen. It is the fact that as she observes herself being observed more critically. The work is self-reflexive and somewhat autobiographical in nature and shows qualities that each woman brings to each of the work. I have gone up and down the mountain, strolled down the garden path, floated, drifted, nearly drowned in choppy waters. Yet, I am yet to find myself.
And my singing Becomes the only sound of a Blue/black/magical/woman. Walking. Womb ripe. Walking. Loud with mornings. Walking. Making pilgrimage to herself. Walking.
Courtesy of Roy Thomas, Anupama Alias.