Going back into the twenty years of my work so far, I notice that I like doing things a bit different, don’t like to show a lot, although I wish I did, which I will try to want.
I don’t like to have expensive production costs while making the works, cant be talking about how greed kills and needs a cure, being stuck up to your neck in it.
I didn’t want to spell out things, I like subtle small details, the meaning in the everyday, less ‘I am the best’ and more ‘I am just trying to find a way’, I feel I am searching in the darkness of no meaning.
Why are we here is what makes all of us suffer and we don’t even think about it, but I still want to find an answer.
I ended up working in India a lot. The first time I went was 2001 after 9/11 and living in NY, got depressed and left knowing nothing about India except that I felt like going. Ended up staying for five months till all my savings were spent, felt blessed traveling there, my staff got stolen the first week, ended only with passport and my money that I had on me, everything else gone, I felt so happy and liberated, finally I thought I am light and I am free. I bought two three items of clothing and continued for five months a journey of discovery first that Hinduism is a philosophy of life that makes more sense than anything else I knew, and that I had it all wrong growing up in the west, priorities and value systems all messed up. Poverty was blissful there, felt like a luxury, despite hardship the smiles were angelic. Or is it because of the hardships that the smiles were so pure and beautiful. There was light in the souls of many people and when I looked at them and they looked at me I felt like beams of light brightening my being.
Then I went back again in 2003 and spent four months in Varanasi where I was swimming in the Ganga every day crossing the river and treating like the sea, for hours in the water, and instead of dying according to the guide book due to extreme pollution I felt a pain being lifted off my chest and daily my skin glowed and I looked healthier than ever. One day when I had said my little prayer of Please Ganga don’t give me any skin diseases and entered her waters and while swimming to the other side I felt that this is what spirituality must be about, this mythical spirituality I had heard about but never thought that it can actually exist, I thought the fact that the river is Holy, and I believe it is together with hundreds of millions of other people, somehow makes the warnings of science and the travel guide null and offer instead bliss, transcend logical expectations and broaden my perception of reality. I thought I should find a way to work in my art practice on that realisation and explore it further, and that’s how two years later I started the first journey from Athens to Varanasi through Turkey Iran and Pakistan. I called it Without my own vehicle since I was traveling with busses and trains, I thought it was a good title then, not sure if it is or not now, in the general confusion is it even important if you have your own car or take the bus? I guess very important but we don’t care somehow anymore.
I asked several collectors and friends to be part of the journey and the collectors supported it financially with a small amount and I was making the works while traveling and I was sending them to them through the post office daily. Mostly Xerox copies of photos I was taking where I coloured over partially to create a focal point, to make something invisible visible, and also hand made cards that I made by zeroxing further on hard paper cutting the image and turning it into a card with a small text I write behind.
Then I continued these journeys, from Varanasi to Auckland, then working in Athens as if it is India, then living and working in Varanasi for a whole year, and after spending a year in Bangkok to complement the Varanasi experience, and after a journey in New York treating like an exotic place, and after another journey in Athens post crisis, and back to India to follow a pilgrimage to the four corners of the subcontinent, Char Dham, and then again India this year, following a pilgrimage to the Goddess, Maha Shakti Peetha.
Between these journeys I make paintings and drawings of being growing inside each other, and paintings of spirits, that I truly do not know where they will lead me. Only this year I decided to work more on them and try to show them too.