‘God is not a square .God is Cross.’, ‘Parmeshvar ke sirf chaar kone nahin hain’.
14th August 2007.
A performance as part of the workshop, ‘To draw a Line’, a marathon dedicated to Nasreen Mohammedi and Bhupen Khakkar at the Faculty of Fine Art, MS University, Baroda.
It isn’t so hard to find inspiration in Baroda. The past few months have been tight with debate, dissent and its dissolution.
This was a performance that surfaced at Vivan Sundaram’s strategic reclamation of democratic art space at the eve of the 6oth year of Indian Independence.
A confluence of diverse notions of poesis , this performance, is for me an assertion of my body, as a Muslim woman with all its markedness, within the parameters of institution, nation and godhead.The effort is to shoulder the project of embracing, recasting and reclaiming all of them.
Enveloping my insider/outsider position within each fractal of this moment and space, between stretching and slouching, this work spans the betrayal and anger of God, woman, man (as exemplified by Christ) and democracy in today’s Gujarat.
This work comes from a self that is moving within a cube, one set by the trauma, gravity and despondency of the aftermath of genocide, both on one community and other communities. Emerging from the paradigm set by this workshop, the performance is a siege of the mundane normalcy of the university space to articulate voices far beyond its (current) scope: the shadow-lines of rape mapped on the tryst of exploited women’s bodies starting to realise ‘freedom’.
In terms of type-scape and struggle with form therefore, the self morphs itself into varying positions to grapple with movement. And the release is , in this case in breaking the cube, and ironically, in an act of prayer after.
The workshop was dedicated to Nasreen Mohammedi and Bhupen Khakkar , artists who enriched and nurtured this institution and Indian art, each with their own trajectories of identity.
And as art historian Santosh reiterated again, for each one of us, it’s about time someone drew a line.
So, says the macrocosm, God is not a Square. Stop being so linear.
*Special Thanks to Vivan Sundaram.
*Photos and video are in the pipeline.