As Lucy Lippard said in “On the Beaten Track “… and we are on our way to becoming a society of visitors and voyeurs, and commodified actors or targets of strangers fantasies on the other.” This photo was taken of myself in 1991, at the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt. I used this image as part of my exhibition “The Great Game: A New World Order?” – a three channel video installation which explores the new colonization embodied in globalization. Which examines the current glorification of US war technology and the past glory of the British Empire. #mapmydharmaproject Day 66
Day 312 – Map drawing inspired from my mediation class, taught by a dear friend and teacher, Manny that I have know for many years, community ( even over zoom) inspires with new energy into old practices. What better day than today to reflect on what really matters in our lives and to celebrate ? ? ?☪️✝️✡️
Post 1-2 – This piece inspired by a fantastic course @rampeducation with @johngiordano1 where we explored the book “Design your Life”, based on a design program at Stanford which has many concepts that are grounded in the Bhagavad Gita. Stephen Cope, book “The Great Work of Your Life”, captures these concepts brilliantly in his interpretation of the Gita. He discusses this “catalog of methods that human beings have discovered over the last 3000 years on how to find self” and the obstacles of fear and doubt which paralyze action in finding your Dharma (your calling). He says name your Dharma, trust it and transform and save your little corner of the world ; ) I cherish the extra time I have had in 2020, which has given me room to get closer to my Dharma, through my #mapmydharmaproject.
With centuries of investigation into the pitfalls of desire, Yoga is concerned with teasing apart craving and aspiration. Seeing difficulties as your dharma, embracing aversion and Turing wound into light. Let go of the fruits of your action, to truly relish in your Dharma.
Post 3 – This screen print below the map was created from a photograph I took of the Taj Mahal, where I was interested in who has the power to make meaning. Was the Taj Mahal the ideal symbol of love and devotion or was Shajahan’s intention to create the ultimate symbol of Islam? Has the Taj Mahal become a colonialist subject of appropriation? Was the monument remade, sanitized, exoticized and appropriated by the West? Is it Indian at all? This piece inspired by mapping two books – Design your Life, based on a design program at Stanford which has many concepts that are grounded in the Bhagavad Gita and Stephen Cope, book The Great Work of Your Life, captures these concepts brilliantly in his interpretation of the Gita. He discusses this “catalog of methods that human beings have discovered over the last 3000 years on how to find self” and the obstacles of fear and doubt which paralyze action in finding your Dharma (your calling). He says name your Dharma, trust it and transform and save your little corner of the world ; )
Post 4 – Most people already live very close to their Dharma within spitting range, it does not mean giving up your life and sailing around the world are moving to Paris. They don’t name it they don’t own it they don’t live it – Your greatest act of faith is following your dharma.
Post 5 – John Keats realized there was something at work that was not himself that he needed to surrender too, his first work outwardly was not a success but that effort was an inward success, he had faith in the process itself, of following his Dharma ?☪️✝️✡️
Post 6 – Difficult situations are really opportunities into reuniting with split off parts of the self. If we can hold a conflict, two opposing opposites in our psyche long enough we can give birth to something new, we need to become comfortable with mystery with the unknown with waiting with dark. ?☪️✝️✡️
Post 7- In earlier work I examine why my father, growing up in British India, takes on the views and values of the colonizer. Specifically the many meanings of the Taj Mahal and what it meant to my father. Asking the larger question: how does meaning get manufactured and who more importantly has the power to produce it? ?
Post 8 – ?
Post 9 -With losses on so many levels this year, a new year always brings a possibility of new perspective and reflection for the seeds planted in 2020. Those gifts of more time with family and most importantly self are cherished. My own personal art work has gone to a new level of daily play and experimenting and I thank all of your for acknowledging, your support, a “mere “like” goes a long way? On a lighter note This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house & told my dog. We laughed a lot. Seriously Ripley, our fuzzy reliable addition to the family and the vast outdoors with 14 more 4000 footers under our belt this year, ?♀️ ?these are the things that made my year ? Kisses to you all ?????? see you in 2021 ???? Book Mapping Series 9 of 9
In this series I am combining historic, British, documentary photographs with personal images of my father. For example one historic British photo void of people, a ruin is complicating by adding an Indian man, my father dressed in Western cloths. This changes the power structure, as these British images of the 1800’s “documented” India as an open-air museum, profoundly in the past, disempowered. As I explore my father’s love of the British Empire and his desire to embody it, I am critically analyzing colonialism and at the same time desiring a discredited history. I find we reinterpret our parent’s lives; their identity is part of ours. I am exploring the politics of representation.
These photos my father had taken in 1962 when he left India by boat during the British rule, to study in London. In this first photo, he is a “tourist” in Switzerland, in the second he is posing in Trafalgar Square in London. My work has been greatly influenced by his journey: his hopes, dreams and issues of emigrating from India to the United States and at the same time on a more abstract level, why my father, growing up in British India, takes on the views and values of the colonizer.
As a diasporic artist I find I embody the paradoxes of being an American and being part of the South Asian Diaspora; being Western and Eastern, critically analyzing colonialism and at the same time desiring a discredited history. I find we reinterpret our parent’s lives; their identity becomes part of ours as we explore the politics of representation.
Day52 – Smoke Signals – What happens when you print text screens and make the ephemeral permanent, like a letter? I am interested in the patterns and trends in this absurd form of communication that has become part of our modern identity.. It is like sending smoke signals, no context, no facial expressions, we already as a species do not communicate well, and now texting has become a primary means of communication. Texts are personal, yet the miscommunication with them is universal. What is your most absurd text?
I have started a new project at home, as part of my larger MapmyDharmaProject, I am mapping books that brilliantly link one’s own individual story (Dharma) with the universal, and Rushdie is a perfect place to start. I am using old screen prints that I made @smfaattufts and mapping book characters and concepts onto the screen print. The first book is Salman RushdieTwo Years Eight Months And twenty Eight Days or 1001 nights, one of the character’s is Scheherazade, my alter-ego, which is a doorway to one’s own dharma… This is a prototype for a larger interactive digital media project of mapping my Dharma/path/karma from the individual to the universal.
This week’s revelation is that routine creates habit. With all this time at home, I want to create some new habits to take back into the New Normal. Of course I want to finish some concrete tasks too, but really what is most important for me is not the “Finishing” but creating a routine of new habits. In the first week of this the focus was on rejuvenating a home Yoga practice. Inspired by the Book – Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by GregMcKown A key to starting a new habit is don’t start several habits at once, and what is the smallest finate task that is measurable towards the goal because done is better than perfect. For Me 4 healthy shakes a week in the morning is ✅. #routine#habits#day39#shelterinplace2020#morningshake#essentialismbook #mydharmaproject
During this time at home I am re-reading one of the few life changing books for me: Stephan Cope – The great work of your life – He interprets the Bhagavad Gita with a brilliant map of how to create the conditions for your dharma; to bring forth what is within you. “Once you realize the whole world is within each one of us, you understand who you are who you have been and what your pilgrimage is across the ages”
Thank u @Marcstpiere, For a your wisdom and teaching this morning, Your words around Spanda, the Sanskrit concept of pulsation / little picture to big picture, with awareness deciding which aperture to focus on, was just what I needed to ground. For me the Vedic tradition is really obsessed with living a fulfilled life and what better time than now to rejuvenate my practice which I began over three decades ago. Along the path some significant experiences were your Anusara workshops, which allowed me to appreciate this practice at a new level, and now as we are all looking for a safe place this practice came rushing back in… reminding me the safe place is within each of us, in each breath, in our community. Thank you again @Marc @Yogasakti studio
“…At some point it was decided that reality was not the only option: that it was possible, permissible and even desirable to improve on it; that one could substitute a more agreeable product… The replacement of reality with selective fantasy is a phenomenon of that most successful and staggeringly profitable American phenomenon, the reinvention of the environment as themed entertainment” The Unreal America – Architecture and Entertainment, by Ada Louise Huxtable
Federal Series – The Way it never Was – Idyllic bedroom community
Reproduce a certain era, class – HeyDay of yesterday to Tourism (no preservation, fake , developer) – a selective look at history
Replica is accepted as genuine and the simulacrum replaces the source
Illusion fuels the replica of historic nostalgia that caters to tourism that is a major part of our national economy
Boston Post Road Series (Route 1) – Diplomat
Consumption / Economy – new new new
Interested in dilapidated – something “real” about them
Abandonment has its own meaning and message, a direct contact with what once was that disappears with restoration – one of these anomalies with no answer. In the restoration, what you see is what you get and what you get is not what it was.
In this video project I will explore two aspects of my father’s life. First his hopes, dreams and issues of emigrating from India to the United States. And secondly, on a more abstract level, why my father, growing up in British India, takes on the views and values of the colonizer. Specifically for the second exploration I will examine the many meanings of the Taj Mahal and what it meant to my father. And then ask the larger question: how does meaning get manufactured and who more importantly has the power to produce it?
In the first part of this video project I will research my father’s life during graduate school. He attended the University of London for his Ph.D. from 1958 to 1962. As his graduation date approached he was faced with the decision of whether to return to India or immigrate to the United States. After my father passed away I discovered over 50 of his personal letters that I plan to have translated. These letters, mostly written in Urdu, dated between 1958 and 1962 are a correspondence with my father’s family and a few close friends while he was in graduate school. The few that are in English bring up the hardships of my father being in London, working towards his Ph.D. with limited financial resources. They also convey the anxiety he suffered over his family’s demand to return to India for an arranged marriage and his personal dream of immigrating to the United States. I believe these letters will provide a greater understanding of the hopes, dreams and issues that a colonial subject faces while immigrating.
In the second part of this video project I will investigate the many meanings of the Taj Mahal which will raise the following questions. Was the Taj Mahal the ideal symbol of love and devotion or was Shajahan’s intention to create the ultimate symbol of Islam? Has the Taj Mahal become a colonialist subject of appropriation? Was the monument remade, sanitized, exoticized and appropriated by the West? Is it Indian at all? On a personal level I will explore what the Taj Mahal meant to my father as an Indian. Why did he take the Western colonist’s viewpoint of the Taj Mahal? And then why do we as family choose the ultimate symbol of India the Taj Mahal to be in his head stone? How do we remake the meaning of the Taj Mahal yet again?
These two aspects of my father’s life immigration and the colonial effects are deeply entwined, one influencing the other. This investigation will start to explore the paradoxes my father faced as a colonial subject: how the colonized takes on the views and values of the colonizer? And what does it mean to be born in the East and die in the West?
Disney World is the most visited vacation destination on the planet. Annually 46 million tourists visit the Orlando area. In Sarina Khan-Reddy’s series of photographs entitled “Picture Spot”, she explores the perpetuation of the colonialist image, the construction of the exotic, in Disney’s theme park – Animal Kingdom. She asks the questions: What is authentic? What is the role of photography in tourism? What happens when you construct a scene (a spot) for a tourist snapshot? Does this perpetuate the construction of the other? Click here to to review video documentation in Disney’s theme park – Animal Kingdom.
Click on the image to see the full Video – The Great Game: A New World Order?” is a three channel video which explores the new colonization embodied in globalization. Through comparative strategies, the viewer is asked to examine the differences between the current glorification of US war technology, the past glory of the British Empire and the glamorization of the 3rd Reich as expressed in the Nazi propaganda film, “Triumph of the Will”. While growing up under British India, the artist’s father not only loved the British style but was also seduced with its glory. After immigrating to the US, he was very critical of the American imperialist agenda, while maintaining a good deal of nostalgia for British India. Khan Reddy finds herself questioning some of these same contradictions. She raises the questions: Does longing to identify with a discredited history negate the understanding of critical issues? Is the nostalgic fetishization of the British Royal Era the same as the festishization of war technology? (4 minutes).
Sarina Khan Reddy’s latest performance video work is a deeply personal and yet very public as. She engages in self-examination to express her desires, frustrations and ideological views as an American mother and a South Asian diasporic artist. This three channel video performance explores the differences within her cultural identity as an Islamic-American woman where she questioning the dominant ideology around domesticity, hysteria and the body in the West.
She uses straightforward video, setting up a stationary camera and filming herself Sufi dancing, whirling, sensual movement and open eye meditation, braking the 4th wall in film and returning the gaze. She appropriates, short clips from mass media, for example the Brady Bunch to disrupt the meditative performance. She juxtaposes this with her life as a middle class mother raising children, disciplining, and meeting the mundane responsibilities of running a household. Across the three three screens a subversive ticker tape runs, questioning motherhood and self exploration.
Growing up in a dual household with a traditional Indian father and a puritanical, Yankee, reserved new England mother, she later became interested in the mystical aspects of her Indian heritage. She spent over a decade exploring the Sufi tradition as well as becoming an initiate of the South Indian tradition, Sri Vidya and learning the complex rituals associated with it. Both of these traditions emphasis the notion that self-realization is through the body, that exploring the longing and desire buried deep in every human heart is done by opening the heart and letting the body lead, not the mind or ego. In many Eastern philosophies the body is considered the Devine, in the West it is often objectified.
She raises the questions: Can a middle class American mother reconcile the conflict of the culture of a “Soccer Mom” with a deep inner calling to explore consciousness through the body? Does she have time? Will she feel guilty? Can she attend to domestic duties, career, motherhood and inner callings? Does she need safety and certainty? Can we try to live outside or our cultural ideology and its imposed morals?
“The Western Taj Mahal” – This piece explores the many meanings of the Taj Mahal. Has the Taj Mahal become a colonialist subject of appropriation? Was the Taj Mahal the ideal symbol of love and devotion or was Shajahan’s intention to create the ultimate symbol of Islam? Was the monument remade, sanitized, exoticized and appropriated by the West? Is it Indian at all? (4 minutes)