In my formative years my work was an amalgamation of printmaking, drawing and painting, through which I deconstructed the essence and importance of meditation, prayer and religious practice in my life. In the midst of the chaos, unrest and many examples of intolerance in the world today, I attempted to demonstrate through my work the peace and serenity that I obtain through Bandagi also called Zikr, which is a form of repetitive chanting. That has since been the basic inspiration and essence of my work, though the way it has manifested has varied based on the twists and turns my own life has taken.
The sudden loss of my mother halted my projects (and my life) for some time. My mother's absence created a huge gap, and I was not ready to create anything new. It felt like making memories without her, and something about that did not sit with me right. It was only a few months later, when I had started to negotiate with the grief that I realized I could make her the center of my work, and this way I wouldn't think I was doing her an injustice. This time around, the meditation, that started off as an idea to express peace and serenity, is what encouraged me to live my life again. I started using her clothes, threads and other belongings to weave and crochet with, embroider, paint and print on, I wrote letters to her which I used within the work as pulp or wrote them in a secret script to speak to my mother in, slowly making sense of the void. Loss, when it’s our own, seems magnanimous, but when shared with others, it starts to give one a renewed perspective on the world. Although I had explored the loss of family members in the past, nothing felt like this, nothing felt like a part of me leaving.
From the show, Bandagi, an Inward Journey at the Arc Gallery in Chicago, IL, USA.