November 27, 2010

Without Borders

Since the beginning of this year, I have been working on and off on creating artwork based on South Asian literature. Early in the year, I did this piece on Shakuntalam, Kalidasa's classical love story. 

This new piece, Without Borders, inspired by Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, is very post-modern. I was trying to respond to Melange team's November challenge "Home" and the idea came when I spent one whole Saturday morning hunting for documents to apply for Indian visa. I felt much like Ashima, a borderless nomad, straddling a 10,000 miles wide Asian Indian boat. 

The power of Lahiri's book lies in the fact that global themes of dislocation, loss, and the longing for roots are explored inside the particulars of one Bengali woman's immigrant experience. This point was most poignantly brought to me when my Brazilian born aerobic instructor asked me if I had read the book. Ashima, derived from the sanskrit word asima, means "without boundaries". 

The book may have well been about Miguela, Ivana, Habiba or even one Indira.

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