The Pellucid Perspective

Anupama Alias

‘You were there. I could hear you, but I only caught glimpses of you in the glass. Eventually I gave in and found myself staring at myself, reflected. Looking at myself looking back at me.Both of us trying to decipher the face that was in front of us.My eyes seeing me in mine and countless.’

           -An excerpt from ‘Then She Fell’, an immersive theater performance by Third Rail Projects based on the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland.’

Sometime in 2014, I was first ushered to a single hostel room, far away from the cocoon-like comfort of my home and family. The solitude within the four walls initiated a dialogue inside me. The conversations took the form of a journey and I began unraveling the secrets lying within the rib cage. They say, Eve was made from Adam’s rib. Why? Nobody knows! The intriguing reason behind the rib became the genesis of my work and I began exploring the human anatomy.

In the process, the rib cage became the spine of my works and also led me to other body parts. I started discovering myself in that process. The skin, flesh, brain, heart, lungs, blood cells all joined in an unending flow from which I began gathering whatever residues I could pick up. I find myself in the quest for my lost bones, in the threads adjoining the two halves, among the burnt heap of frames, in the hair strands which got entangled to my soul, as the voice coming out of my knitted lips, as the strong stench of smearing blood, as the grievance of the lost Paradise, in the reminiscences of the body and soul. In the end I find myself- my colorless, odorless, formless self- within the lost shapes and the transparency of my reflection.

It was not just objects that I collected, but also memories that transported me to my childhood. That was the time when I began becoming the others, I interacted with them and began internalizing their experiences. Through these interactions, I try to unravel the implied desires and fluctuations of identity that my womanhood has thrusted upon me. It is not only about the vulnerabilities or transitions that a woman goes through, but also about how she perceives herself and how she observes herself being observed more critically. In my paintings, I locate myself where I have been discriminated physiologically or psychologically and being isolated from different realms of life. Thus, the self becomes the representative image in my works. I dig deep into my stencils with the lantern in one hand and a lit matchstick in the other. As my work burns in the fire of my passionate quest, it leaves black residual lines, which I visualize as forming the contours of my own self.

Anupama Alias is a visual artist based in Kerala, India. She has completed her MFA (Applied Arts) from Govt. RLV College Thripunithura, Kochi and MFA (Painting) from SN School of arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad.


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