Okay, everybody. I’ll be writing soonish about symbols, visual history, and artistic intention; but I wanted to give you all a chance to ruminate on this 2003 photograph, “Awakening,” by Chitra Ganesh. What does it mean to you?

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2 Responses to Symbols

  1. Leslie says:

    Honestly, I don’t know what to make of it, though there do seem to be a number of incongruous things about the image.

    Looking forward to your thoughts!

  2. Jeff Mather says:

    It’s worth noting that this photograph seems different from the rest of her work, which involves installations mostly.

    Here’s an excerpt from one of those sites that starts to explain why it’s difficult for non-Indians to “get” Indian art:

    “In Broken Spell , Chitra Ganesh explores a moment in Indian mythology that details a failure of enchantment in the ancient epic, the ‘Ramayana.’ Surpannahka, a demoness, is attracted to Rama but feels she is too ugly and disguises herself. Rama punishes her for expressing desire by injuring her, and she disappears from the narrative back into the forest. Ganesh’s wall drawing gathers fragments of Surpannahka’s forest and its creatures and continues under the Linden tree next to the picnic area.”

    But a Times article suggests to me that cultural symbols are only a part of interpretation:

    “”In mural-size ink drawings, Chitra Ganesh subjects the female body to mutations, exaggerations and struggles worthy of Hindu deities and enlivened with beads, glitter and colored plastic. But routine female obsessions with hair, nails and eyelashes are also evoked.”

    That brings us to intention . . . later.

    (Thanks to Sepia Mutiny for starters.)

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