Thesis Show 2023 - April 9-11
Entering Apotheosis, 2023
Photography print, fabric and multi-medium installation, 156”x96”
Entering Apotheosis is an autobiographical series that explores facets of my identity. It is a reflection of my experiences around my heritage, focusing on what it's like growing up as a first generation Indian immigrant in the United States. This is emulated through photography, installation, fabric and found objects, all done in comforting warm tones to juxtapose the harshness of my perceived reality having been raised between two cultures. I am heavily influenced by South Asian futurism and the involvement of South Asian culture disrupting white-led narratives, and I do this by combining editorial photography with its modern flare and some Renaissance artworks for their timeless iconicism. My current project involves rethinking these historic artworks with diversity and inclusion and inserting myself in it.
The word “apotheosis” has many definitions, but I am targeting those that express the highest point in one’s life and the Greek allusion of one being deified. This is my reclamation and celebration of entering a new stage of life, accepting and embracing myself and in turn, hoping to inspire those around me, especially women of color, to do the same.
This project, alongside my written research, was the pinnacle of my undergraduate degree and my final step towards graduation.
Artist Statement for Dummies.
Okay, not actually, but more for my friends and family that may be confused beyond their wits. If you’re an art student in my critiques, I hereby forbid you to read this, not on my own accord but from sheer fear of my professors. Juuust kiddiing (...kinda).
First, I need you to look at the work and enjoy it for what it is and let your thoughts make your own assumptions. No, seriously, go ahead, take a good glance (and whiff) because your perspective is what makes the art what it is. Okay, I’m waiting. Take your time. No, really, go look.
Good to see you again! Now that you’ve looked around and make your guesses and assumptions, I want you to know and understand that your assumptions are super valid, but if you wanted more insight, here is my intentionality and some background info about the work:
The golden X opposing the work is where the viewer is intended to stand. It’s curated to my height so feel free to wander about until you are able to see your reflection in the mirror and the work as a whole. The warped mirror is a play on body dysmorphia and the mirror’s height is beyond my eye level when I’m close to exhibition, a play on my attainable standards and self-worth. (Yikes amiright).
Lots of Renaissance references! I am a big art history buff and love the idea of reclaiming these iconic pieces but in a very different, female-lead, South Asian lens. I am obsessed with the idea of legends and icons, and so of course, my mildly narcissistic self had to put myself at the center of many of these references.
That’s a big portrait of my mom. Yeah, no, really, it’s massive. This was taken in India, and my mom has been the leading influence in my life that has kept me close to my culture despite having been raised in the most trite, white picket-fence, caucasian-heavy town. Also, can we talk about how beautiful she is? That’s riiight, I’m about to look 30 when I’m 50. Mhm, I’m about to age so well, thank God for those genetics.
The gold frames, most of them gilded, are a hint at giving the photographs power and more worth as we see in museums with archaic paintings most of the time. I rarely ever see photographs in gilded golden frames, and, as mentioned earlier, I love the idea of iconicism and love attention so this really draws the viewer’s eye in. My extra gene really kicked in here, and I loved working with the golden color. Get it because gold is first place too. Hah. Yep. Classic Vidushi.
The pothos plant on the left side, also known as a money plant, is all over my childhood home, and it is very comforting to me. This is a live pothos. I want to say I’ve been taking care of this plant for so long and it has so much meaning and blah and blah, but I actually bought this from Walmart two days ago. That’s also the only reason why it looks healthy. It’s a plant you’ll likely find in many Indian and Asian homes as its growth is an allusion of abundance and financial prosperity. Love money.
The clothes on the right are the most direct reference to my life feeling split between cultures, and the Indian ones are more dominating than the western, and that’s how my life is. I like it a lot, but I didn’t always and struggled to appreciate it for its beauty growing up. It’s cute as heck.
The brown shelf with the faux leather drapery is meant to emulate that I used to hide so much of the rich culture I was born into. The scent is jasmine based, one of my favorite Desi scents. (Yes, I love Princess Jasmine). The rest are Renaissance allusions to go with the work, like the little white Aphrodite sculpture. I totally made that myself and totally didn’t buy that off of Amazon for my room months ago.
The coloration is aesthetic lead to my preference as this work is so heavily autobiographical. The colors are aimed to feel warm and welcoming to juxtapose with the conceptual meaning of the work that is not necessarily the easier to digest. Growing pains are hard, life is hard, staying true to yourself and appreciating and learning is hard. But nothing good comes easy, and I love that!
And finally, it is not intended at all for you to go behind the board of where I installed, but if you do decide to go there, you will see a poster of my savior, Beyonce, who watched over us as we installed and gave me the push for making this a good show and to get past my self-deprecation around this work. I encourage you to ask yourself today, what would Beyonce do?
Thank you so much for being here, I really am so grateful. Art school is absolutely no joke, it is the hardest I have ever worked in my life yet, and I am excited to continue to do so. Art makes the world go round, I’m telling you, and how honorable that I get to show my work alongside the incredible Quincy Collins and Gabrielle Barrera. As graduation looms, I am excited to share that I am using my degree to further pursue the media industry in commencing a production company where I hope to work in photography, marketing and commercials alongside continuing to work as an actor and model. Time to conquer the world in hopes of making it a more compassionate, creative and better place.