JUNE 2020 RESIDENCY - ARTIST STATEMENT
Human experience begins with an act of wrapping, “gestation” and unwrapping from the placenta. We soon after, proceed with the practice of rewrapping, swaddling babies to first introduce them to society. And, from infant to old age, we find various ways to wrap ourselves as if trying to preserve or prolong that experience from within the womb. Even in death, many of us get wrapped in several layers of cloth, wood and earth.
My studio practice investigates the ethnography of wrapping, exploring personal relationship with the wrapping culture, and the cross-cultural ceremonies and rituals in our society that assimilate wrapping to understand or illustrate the semiotics of wrapping revealed or hidden through signs, symbols and their interpretations. I investigate how the materiality of wrapping, a representation that denotes social order and identity, elevates from wrapping gifts, wrapping our bodies, wrapping our spaces to abstractly wrapping ourselves in ideas, cultures and philosophies. In this work, the material of wrapping, which takes on the role of a screen or a second skin, plays on this duality of the exterior and the interior world, obscurity and light. And here in “Black Skin White Masks” the wrapping materiality accentuates the dialectics between that which is persecuted, discarded, unwanted and that which is wanted, nurtured and preserved.
Coping with COVID 19 and its pandemic, the materiality of wrapping reflects my own social distancing/quarantine experience. It consists of wrapping and unwrapping my belongings, sorting out to discard and repurpose junk and treasured items, and shedding (like in shedding skin for rebirth, renewal and new beginning).