Interactive Installation and Durational Participatory Performance
One is All, All is One.
(Sanskrit: हंस haṃsa)
The Haṃsa is an aquatic migratory bird, most commonly interpreted as the swan in ancient Sanskrit texts. A spiritual symbol in Indian and Southeast Asian culture, it is a metaphor for wisdom and discrimination - a bird with the mythical ability to extract milk from a mixture of milk and water, symbolising the virtue of diferentiating the useful from the unskilful/impure, knowing good from evil, wisdom from ignorance. In Hindu iconography, the Haṃsa is the vahana (vehicle/mount) of Brahma, Saraswati, Gayatri and Vishvakarma.
(Arabic: خمسة khamsa, Hebrew: חֲמִישָׁה ḥamishah)
The Hamsa is a palm-shaped symbol popular throughout North Africa and in the Middle East as an apotropaic talisman. Depicting the open right hand, it is used as a sign of protection from evil and provide defense against the evil eye.
One of the rawest work (in terms of aesthetic and attitude) presented publicly, this installation was inspired by a comment from a teacher and mentor long ago:
"The most interesting works I see of my students are not what they put up in the gallery or during presentations, but in their sketchbooks."
The process of one's practice (in life and in art) as it unfolds is a seeking of sorts, be it into aspects of the self, areas in life that provides us wonder, joy and purpose, or even an inquiry into suffering itself. This work seeks to lay bare the process and ideas behind the artist's practice and research, both an attempt to make sense of the artist's work and personal identity, as well as being an exercise of vulnerablity.
Pages from the artist's journals are torn out and presented with as little discrimination and curation as possible on the wall. The artist's right arm is cast in plaster and set in the centre of the notes and sketches. Reaching out from the wall and connected by red strings to the notes, the hand represents the ubiquitous sense of seeking present in the artist's practice of life and art. The connections to the multiplicity of ideas and sketches on the wall keep the hand (and in extension, the artist) grounded, providing a sense of meaning, coherence and comfort.
Concomitantly, the hand can also be read as a symbol of grasping, and the strings as a symbol of attachment. With the fingers entangled by the red strings, these connections/attachments are also the very things that keeps one bound and yoked. Being held back by the strings, the artist's hand stretches out as if yearning for something beyond. This signifies a desire to cast away one's bonds and limitations, and to break free of one's clinging and identifications with one's own concepts, intellectualisations and beliefs.
Beyond a one-sided 'presentation' of the self and one's own practice, the work is also an exercise in meaning and sense-making through collectivity and interdependence. We make sense of ourselves not just through reflection in isolation, but also through the plurality of perspectives reflected through the relationships around us. The audience are invited to take the red strings and connect them to notes and sketches which they resonate with and find interesting. Hence, the work becomes a communual exercise of discrimination and meaning-making, teasing out what is most relevant in any given moment through a diversity of views. The multiple lines of flight shift and morph rhizomatically, evolving in composition as the participants interact with the work through the duration of the show.