Size: 11x12 inch print
Medium: Salted Paper Print, Artist’s Hair
I started collecting photographs of women in 2008 – randomly encountered, discarded, anonymous images, abandoned and faded. I gradually shaped my collection at home, put the photos on my wall and prayed to them. I feel a sense of resonance with them, and these are the people I live with now.
I began making salt-paper portraits of these unknown faces. Salt prints have an ephemeral quality: over time they incrementally vanish in front of your eyes, just as all subjects inevitably recede, or are erased, in personal, familial and social memory. I altered the borders of the women’s portraits, edging them with my own hair. The strands serve as an organic frame that, as the print becomes less and less visible, will ultimately hold a void but itself will persist as the living residue of each work, as a form of presence purely dedicated to the inscription of absence, and as a witness to/testimonial of our existential fragility.
I first showed two of these prints in Being in a State of Salax (2020), a Kanike Collective exhibition in Bangalore. I have created eighty-three such images, of which thirty-three did not come to fruition.