I am a multidisciplinary artist from Bangalore, studied in MS University. Currently practicing in Vadodara, Gujarat. My work has developed in number of ways over the years yet from the very beginning of my art practice, I have workded in Painting, Printmaking, Installation, Video Art and performing art. My intention is to blend these mediums into an interdisciplinary language.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Untold Stories of Common Man/ Women



Kolkata International Performance Festival ,25th Jan 2016

Majher hat Station to Eden Garden in  Local Train











“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid? He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.” - Rebecca Harding Davis.



Kolkata is one of the busiest cities in India. The historical city has lots to offer, when one enters the city one not only see old historical building but also sees old buildings, people on roads, local, migrants, laborer, people from different walk of life. The densely populated city has lots to offer, to learn and observe the life. Till now I have approached this city with various perspectives through my previous performances based on Historical and Social aspects. 



This time I wanted  to see it from common person point of view. From my earlier trips I always wanted to know the city very closely and it would be a challenge to perform, although undemanding yet complicated as we are also part of it but again to see through others point of view. City breaths in and out, hustle and bustle of the crowd, you see faces of most common people like Chai walas, laborers, small time vendors and many migrants from small town, the working class and all kinds of people. City is alive because of these common people. The performance that I had conceived was to brings in the element of common mans perspective and despite being nucleus of any city they merge in crowd and become common man in the society, you come across many stories that common man becomes hero but again get lost back in nothingness. I am more curious how it would be to see the world through the eyes of common man. I wanted to put my foot in their shoes being nobody yet important for society. 



The city of joy has left lot of good impression in my mind. The life, liveliness, art and cultural environment has always attracted me there is some romantic inclination attach with city life, the lamp post which reminds me of colonial history, the soft music played on streets feel the heart with memories of Rabindra Sangeet and old times. One surely falls in love with city at first site. 




The performance was about space, about the common people, about the impression in my mind. This performance was attempted to bring this liveliness of life seen in the eyes of people. This performance will mark/map traces of this very signs of happenings in the city. I was also interested since venue for the performance site was in old part of the town, which gives scope for interaction and to be in that space itself marks the relevance in both time and space.

This performance was an impression of city during my earlier interactions, through performance I tried to bring these impulses in my Performance and work with space. I performed like those Light Man in Marriage Brass band who hold  lights on their head during marriage wedding functions These Light man /woman has no other role but to just hold lights on their head walk with band to provide light their existence is just like object in the whole marriage band. Genuinely observing I felt in their nothingness there is so much life and the people and city just ignore this as if their existence does not matter they are most commons. Giving light also metaphorically reciprocates their existence.




My attempt was to dig into those void unfulfilled spaces, understanding and feeling ideas of life, existence survival and understanding commons man. In this performance I was  wearing light as my hair plaits which plays as dual role  one as a bridegroom and other  common light women and interacting with local people.Some fragments experiences of common man their struggle to negotiate life and survival. All through my train journey from Majher hat station to the Eden Gardens  to and fro I was walking with this lights and sharing postcard containing  images of Music band Brass player  while interacting with people in the  train. 



Dimple B Shah, 2015

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Smell of Death


Kolkata International  Performance Festival  23 to 26th Jan 2016
Chandar Haat 







The wise man is not surprised by death

he is always ready to leave.

La Fontaine

This melancholic state is so powerful

that, according to scientists and doctors,

it can attract demons to the body,

even to such an extent

that one can get into mental confusion or get visions.

-Agrippa

I have attempted to work on Melancholy and healing in my previous works but not in this form Gross and Fearful.…. Deceit of life to life itself…







This performance was based on Psychological state of mind after shocking news of sudden death of Friend whose death is till now a mystery unsolved story, I was trying to negotiate and understand mystery related to Death. Trying to understand Death with various undertones – Sudden death of friend brought me to confront deep shade of dark melancholy tones where there was no hope and no light just mere helplessness. My state of mind was overpowered with negative thought of fear no trust in Life, Deceit of life on life itself. It was point of tension a wedge like situation which cannot be swallowed or thrown out it was question of faith in life?
 






My performance was impression of my reaction to death and accumulation of various thought of sudden death, question related to Death like how when why and who did it?. This Performance was most difficult to perform it needed lot of courage to open up to dark mind thoughts and emotions. It needed more then cent percent from me to be true to express my state of mind which can be communicated to audiences. 




It was intense and melancholic tone. The process had to be ritualistic in nature so as to help me to
come out of this tensed dark state of mind. This performance act enabled me to express dark state of mind where life and death are in-between position, kind of wedge like situation. Metaphorically I worked with ‘Prana’ (the Life) -The life Itself to understand death and heal myself through ritual of going first to state negative state (Nigredo) and slowly coming out to a positive state through ritualistic Process both Psychologically and physically and reach out to the mode of catharsis.

Metaphorically Prana which also means (life and as well as breath) was used in my performance as essential element and working with different breathing techniques and modes I created different moods of mind. 



I reciprocated to my first impression of death by creating a tense situation in my mouth by blocking it with piece rock salt all through my performance as I was trying to go to different breathing modes. The image of my friend suffocating during her death was stuck in my mind quite strongly and I wanted to come out of these suffocating feeling.I used salt to stabilize my tensed state which is essence and important element of body as it also heals and fights negative energies. Through various ritualistic healing moments I could reach my audiences This Performance act enabled myself and my audiences to encounter to truth go through ritualistic process of healing and attain catharsis in the course of action.

Dimple B Shah  26th Jan 2016

Monday, January 9, 2017

INFUSED COMBUSTION (Through the subconscious state)

Art Houz Gallery 19 th March 2016 for the Show 
I RISE (EDITION II) 
A Dialogue Between Work and Space 






Ceaseless (endless) waiting for justice and agony of going through the process is constant. In this pretext especially as women the challenges are multi fold and in India it seems to be all the more complex. Socially and politically the pace at which these issues of rape are being addressed is really a cause for concern. This leads to a psychological state of self combustion. My performance is an attempt to bring these inner traumatic humiliation agony and ceaseless state that goes in the mind of a victim and also state of society and their sociological concerns in our country. It is not new that we constantly come across so many news on rape, but what happens when we hear them or read them in news and then wither away with time but we don’t know what happened to the victim, there constant struggle, whether they have got justice. Sometime we too try to become part of mass protest to fight for justice, but nothing of this can really make us understand what happens in victim’s mind, trauma they undergo over the time. Living in state of stigma, shame and loosing dignity in normal life, whether they are able to take so much load or they just erase their existence even before the justice is done. The stories of rape victims are unlimited and getting justice take long time or sometime justice is denied too. 









The waiting is long, there is constant struggle in the mind of victim and carry all sorts of pressure and tension. Most of the time victim loses hope and strength, they don’t see light, they are left alone on this path and they are lost forever. Sadly this cycle goes on, it is not new and we don’t know how many unknown and known names lose their battle/fight for justice. 





Through my work I am just trying to bring small part of this whole cycle. My attempt is to see, read and bring this state of individual victim’s tension and traumatic experience through my work. I feel this traumatic fear and pain is slowly spreading in our society and no wonder one day it will become mass hysteria of pain and tension. The fear and insecurity is spreading in the society and we don’t have answers to it, we need to seek and find out, we need to heal in mass.



I tried to create a situation where the victim’s state of mind can be metaphorically represented through performance where my body directly reciprocated to the psychological state of inner, tension, insecurity bound in time/ space. I tried to move with long hair plait which over a time becomes ball of pain while releasing psychological tension with one foot and mouth bound with brick and black salt and other foot stretching towards healing bowl of milk.



The work is in more abstract represent of my subconscious impulse to such situation and I try to bring the healing element through an act from audience participation it is interactive performance where audience were asked to participate in act of planting glass of milk around the black ball In this performance audiences also marked their Negatives (pain) by burning portion of white cloth their by releasing their negativity and healing themselves.

Dimple B Shah
2016

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Bring me the Smell of Earth and I give you Taste of Love - Article in Newspaper

Newspaper Review in Rajasthan Patrika on 10 December 2016 about the  Live performance in Jaipur Art Summit

Eent ke Burade me lipathkar rebuilding History ke Wakhya


Friday, January 6, 2017

Unfolding Ephemeral Traces


Tantidhatri International Women's Performing Arts Festival,
(Part of Magdalene Projects) 12th February 2016 at Ranga Shankara, Bangalore 

Unfolding Ephemeral Traces is about mapping the journey of self; over the years my performance art has had transitory stages of unfolding of psychological, physical and emotional changes, reactions to the happenings around me. My works has usually reflected my surrounding and personal experience which I have gone through. The working and emotive responses have always influenced by my immediate surroundings and reactions to situations. From the start of my journey there has been tremendous transition in my working and presenting process and dealing with issues. The journey of my performance career strongly started with my emotive response to Communal riots in 2002, Saffron Border, was my second performance where I strongly responded to fear and insecurities of common people and firsthand experiences during the Godhra riots in Baroda. Later my journey in performance career progressed slowly, towards metaphorically working on issues of pain and agony of victims (work of bringing the perspective of victims like rape issues and issues of injustice were addressed in my works) which I consider as grey layer but then there was gradual process where I turned toward healing aspects and in more recent works I am trying to find out solutions to this social-political issues worked toward aspect of Catharsis and healing elements.





The Idea of the performance is about finding out traces of my journey, unfolding first hand reaction to the communal rites an era of saffronization later on gradually playing the role of victims showing agony and pain this came with my first hand experience in Baroda during the riots and now gradually working towards healing aspect all this stages have impacted and influenced my performances. As I look back it has been as these as been ephemeral. A moment of time decade and half just gone in one moment I would like to retrace this moment and relive it because I feel although this reactions and actions are bygone the situations and history has not changed much the same amount of fear insecurities and pain/agony is in my mind and of people, again the raise of power in negative tone has given blow to fire which was hidden safely earthed inside me. I feel strongly to revisit confront this present situation prevailing in society. The emotive response has strongly drawn me toward working on this key issue in subtle way, this time not expressing mental trauma or bringing out pain and agony but ascertaining healing as key solution to this hysterical situation present in our society. My efforts are to revisit and reassert those things again and again in my work.
















This work was interactive and Performative installation, where metaphorically and ingeniously suggesting these stages in my work through use of the alchemical elements like Ash, Turmeric and Saffron. I worked with existing tree at the entrance of Ranga Shankara, where I wrapped turmeric dipped color cotton cloth and extending the tree form in center, which  merged with mound of turmeric audience were allowed to tie turmeric roots to the tree branches and create tree of healing roots and they were also be given a memoirs of healing. The performance was ritualistic and healing act to me and my audiences, where healing mandala was created with ash and saffron color making different pattern of design in circular form on floor. The prop of my performance was specially designed to make marks (temporary (Ephemeral) marks on road).which leaves traces of my journey.







Performance art is ephemeral in nature, it is transitory. It’s sometimes spontaneous. It’s often interactive. And it’s always an experience. It isn’t, however, a tangible object like, painting, sculpture or even a string of musical chords on paper. There are plenty of examples of ephemeral nature such as short lived flowers and insects. It can be used in an adjective to describe a period of time such as ‘the ephemeral joys of childhood’. It does however lead to loss, death, and mourning. It allows the artist to make a link between the relationships of existence, decay and loss. It is this transition between life and death where many religious cultures, myths and rituals exist. Where the purpose of the art is to celebrate or acknowledge a transition period, not necessarily between life and death but also for example, from child to adult.







Dimple B Shah
2016


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