Meaning and Explanation These drawings are part of my investigation into an article entitled "Meaning and Explanation" by Robert Bagley. The article compares the evolution of patterns on the surface of Shang dynasty bronze vessels (ca. 1300 BC) to the illuminations in the Book of Kells from 600 AD. Historians like KC Chang and Lothar Ledderose argue that decorative motifs like the Tao-Tie on Shang bronzes represent a relationship between authority and animal sacrifice, connecting the system of mass production and distribution of the precious bronze vessels to the rituals and practices of shamans. Arguing against this idea, Bagley considers how the bird and dog symbols present in the typography of illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells actually stem from pre-Christian tradition. They may have more to do with Celtic tradition than the Bible.
Mahishasura Mardini These are drawings from my research into the story of Mahishasura Mardini. Over time I became interested in the various versions of the story and the multiple histories in performance and animal sacrifice that surround the characters. I believe that ancient Brahminical authority used linear narrative as a tool to simplify the story, so I eventually built my own device to represent the complicated phenomenon here. Link to installation.
Ganges River These drawings are about the story of the ganges river coming down to Earth. I was interested in the climax of the story where the Ganges personified as a woman has to descend to earth through Siva's matted hair, so I drew the last illustration as a figure on opposite sides of the same piece of paper. You have to spin the paper around to see the whole figure, simulating the feeling of whirling through Siva's hair. I also made a short video game to accompany the drawings where you have to tie knots in the air with a Wii controller. The last image shows how I installed the images in a show in the Art|Sci gallery at UCLA.
Kannaki and Chronos At the end of the Cilappatikaram ("The Tale of an Anklet"), a famous South Indian epic, the heroine Kannaki tears off her left breast in anguish at the unjust execution of her husband. I drew this moment because it reminded me of the story of Chronos. On the right, I drew Zeus castrating his father Chronos.
Figures The first drawing is a sketch for a stage design for a musical based on Cole Porter's music. The other two are anatomy sketches