“Beating a Dead Horse” contains my childhood memories of life on the streets of New York City and Jersey City during the Great Depression. The focus is on the ubiquitous presence of working horses (as well as a flock of goats) within the city in that era. The ways people made a living include the organ grinder with his monkey, the fruit and vegetable vendors with their horse-drawn wagons, and the man who collected old clothes to re-sell them. This was an exceedingly stressful era for adults, but we kids were unaware of this; we thought everything was normal.
These are sections from a longish prose poem titled “House of India,” a meditation on an Indian restaurant, one of its waitresses, and one of its regulars. Regarding the human condition, the writing explores how cultures (and individuals) get dressed up in the fantasies of those they depend on for survival.
How does one visualize the body from outside while living inside of one? How do we take steps in our individual, personal journeys of accepting ourselves for what and how we are? How do we (especially women) fight against the social pressure to be a certain form or shape? In Sanskrit, “kaya” means “physical body.” In this visual art series, the clear lines suggest the acceptance of oneself, while the surrounding cloud represents society. The use of primary colors is intentional, signifying the basic instinct one needs for freedom. The journey of understanding the universe starts from undressing the fears of one’s soul and accepting them unconditionally.
The following digital collages intend to question outdated social and cultural norms and behaviors, and stimulate a critical conversation leading to change by liberating human experience from the boundaries of conformism. The artist draws inspiration from music, society, literature, ukio-e, and sci-fi; and often repurposes lighthearted vintage imagery to explore themes such as feminism, mental health, and human interactions.
This recounted moment of personal history, which induced the author to reflect on the many times he’s been told that he looks just like someone else, started out as a holiday greeting to colleagues and friends a few years ago. Using analogies to quantum physics and to the distinction between particles and waves, it addresses how we are all connected to each other and mutually entangled, to make it resonate (albeit subtly) with some of the pressing issues of our day: e.g., isolation, identity politics, polarization, silo culture, and whose lives matter.
What is human life? We never quite have a full grasp on the whole, as it’s always just out of reach. The following visual art series is a parable on man’s destiny and his relationship with what is beyond. The conceptual and philosophical dialogue among different positions combines the downfall of an old world with the human tendency for something exalted. In both cases, what is interesting is not what is factually happening, but how we see reality and the world, and how we project in them our inner thoughts and feelings.
This piece speaks to the lasting impact of colonialism within the Caribbean. It shows how degrees of African-ness can be used to separate peoples within a shared narrative. As the witness, the author is an added layer of American diaspora struggling to accept the microaggressions enacted by the fair collector using the pejorative “negra” (black) towards a person of Haitian descent.
Is it just me, or is life just surreal? The common theme of this photo series is conveying everyday surreality. Granted that New York is a very good place to capture this, but to some degree, examples of this can be found everywhere. There is normality and order, and then there are exceptions to this. I find the exceptions stirring. Is there a moral or profound conclusion? I don’t think so. Some aspects of life can escape notice to an untrained eye — I used my camera to linger on them long enough, intending to bring them more firmly into the conscious mind.
The question of “why do we protest”? is easy to answer. When and how we protest are more complicated questions with blurred lines and no easy answers. What are the results from lines crossed or limits reached? How does the severity of the injustice relate to the medium of revolt? In these works, the artist investigates the methods of loud and quiet violence that are the result of public and private suffering. He takes a look at the scene without context, so we may ask “what emotions bring individuals to this point and how do we react upon seeing it expressed”?
Everything we do on this planet has expectations in one way, shape, or form. Deviate from that, and everything starts to fall off the rails. What happens when we keep pushing against that barrier? On the brink of an alcohol/drug-induced bender, the main character feels herself slipping further and further away from the habitual norm of society’s day-to-day life. The question is, is this so wrong? In “Living Room,” we explore what it means to have these sexual, political, and social transgressions in today’s climate.