" a typical walk down pondicherry’s ‘rues’ (streets) "
materials & techniques: various yarns on a four-harness handloom
Continuing my previous exploration of architectural spaces in Pondicherry, I looked at the landscape of sweeping banyan trees, the long, windings, flower-clad ‘rues’ or streets in Pondicherry, and the canopied pastel houses. However, I wanted to acknowledge the fact that this idyllic view of Pondicherry is, and always was, the French view of Pondicherry. What is Pondicherry for me, and for most Indians, is vastly different from that was in Pondicherry for the memsahibs (madams) who sip tea from their porcelain and the European commander generals who walk the streets as they own it. I wanted to place this work in a context where I could acknowledge this perspective of Pondicherry which I myself. Is it interesting to note that the commander-general who lead the successful conquest of Pondicherry, was from the same commandment as General Rochambeau: the general after whom streets and houses are named in Providence. I took this tapestry to Rochambeau house: one of my favorite ganders in Providence, and allowed myself to walk all over it: walk all over the French and Western view of my country and my hometown. Using this tapestry, which took my 60 hours to make, as a mere rug had a sense of liberation attached to it: the feeling of discarding years of colonial ideology and Western gaze which has tainted the Indian landscape. I also chose to present this tapestry in another form: in the suppressing hands of the ‘white’ colonizer, to again discern the fact that this image, was and always will be the view of the Westerners in their exotic, ‘other’ culture.
trampling the legacies of colonialism :