A series of oil paintings, incorporating photography and a recorded performance, Culture Overlay. I appropriate the iconic imagery of Fra Angelico’s frescos for my background set. Costumed in traditional Eastern garb, I insert myself in this space becoming the main actress in these iconic religious stories, exploring myths around virginity, motherhood and the cycle of birth and death.
In my painting, “Final Judgment,” I reference Fra Angelico’s “The Mocking of Christ.” I sit blindfolded on a platform, superimposed on Christ, wearing the punishing crown of thorns. One hand holds the sword of the Hindu goddess Kali, symbolizing the death of ego; the other hand holds the lotus flower, symbolizing rebirth. In Fra Angelica’s work, 'The Mocking of Christ,' the painting itself is situated in neither heaven nor on earth but in a place created out of meditation. I takes this idea of an imaginary place or 'plane of truth', from which other realities or experiences may be accessed.
In “Copulating Virgin”, I reinterpret myths about the Virgin Mary, revealing ambiguities and conflicts faced in the lives of contemporary women. Clothed in my Muslim bridal dress, my figure is superimposed over the seated Virgin Mary. The architecture surrounding them is patterned with a 17th century illustration of sperm. “Indian Madonna and Child,” Clothed in a red, Indian bridal sari, I sit nursing my newborn daughter, my body superimposed over the seated Virgin Mary. The work internalizes the mixed signals Mary transmits about motherhood, purity, female strength, and sexuality. Through reconstructed religious icons, my work examines issues of geopolitics, gender and sexuality across cultural boundaries.