The work ‘Body of clothing’ explores the preservation of cultural identity and the concept of ownership in the practice of dress through the lens of appropriation and assimilation. The work tries to examine the idea of appropriation beyond the contemporary definition and create a conversation about how the colonial imposition has had an impact on Indian identity and the resulting cultural displacement.
The work looks into the performative aspect of dress and the space that is occupied by the wearer in a physical as well as emotional capacity and the reciprocity between them. It examines clothing as more than just an inanimate object, but a living breathing extension of our identity. Through a series of processes using heat, fusing and compression, a 3D garment was transformed into a 2D artefact - freezing the layers of identity across time and space.
Focussing on the craft of ‘Chikankari’ and researching the intricate processes behind it, the work aims to document and preserve this craft. ‘Chikankari’ is a traditional and delicate hand embroidery from the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India that dates back to as early as 3rd century BC. The work takes the familiarity of a western garment and transforms it into an archive intersecting identity, culture and tradition in India.