Top 10 Quotes & Sayings by Chitra Ganesh

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Chitra Ganesh

Chitra Ganesh is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Ganesh's work across media includes: charcoal drawings, digital collages, films, web projects, photographs, and wall murals. Ganesh draws from mythology, literature, and popular culture to reveal feminist and queer narratives from the past and to imagine new visions of the future.

Born: 1975

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Abortion Acceptable Address Artists Artwork Asian Asian Culture Attention Audience Autobiography Hide All Based Beautiful Bodies Body Burden Capitalism Caste Catch Certain Things Challenging Clear Codes Coexist College Color Combination Complete Complicated Concept Conform Connecting Connecting The Dots Connections Construct Content Control Cultural Culture Current Delight Details Determination Diaspora Differences Discourse Discrimination Disparity Distance Dots Elements Elevation Employed Encountered Engage Enter Existing Fact Falls Family Feel Femininity Feminism Figured Flow Form Forms Framework Fraught Functions Fundamental Fundamentalist Grand Graphic Great Growing Growing Up Guide Hierarchy Hindu Hinduism Historical Historically History Home Hundred Hundred Years Hundreds Ideas Imagery Immigrants Important India Information Interested Interesting Invaders Islam Islamophobia Issues Keep Moving Kinds Lack Language Life Light Line Literary Long Lots Love Majority Make Making Manipulation Market Medium Mind Minority Misogyny Moment Moving Muslim My Family My Life Mythology Narrative Narratives Nationalist Necessarily New York Painting Part Patronage Paying People Perception Pictures Politics Popular Popular Culture Position Potential Power Practice Private Produce Public Reading Reflects Religion Religious Repeating Representation Representing Requires Rethinking Right-Wing Room Same Time Scientific Sense Service So-Called Social Socially South South Asia Space Stories Story Strong Strong Enough Taking Taking Pictures Telling Terms Things Thinking Time Topic Translation Transmission Transparency True True Story Truth Understanding Unexpected Upper Vehicle Viewer Violence Violent Visual Wing Women Work Working World Worldwide Writing Writing Stories Years Years Ago York Younger Younger People Less More Hide All See All
The having of the ideas is quite otherworldly. And then the making of the art itself is quite scientific. It's a combination. L Doing figurative work or taking pictures, and looking at how light actually reflects and refracts on bodies, or how your perception of something changes based on distance. But I think the getting of the ideas, and having that space to just have the ideas, is otherworldly, and requires a clear mind.
I feel a disparity between my life in India within the home and my life outside the home - my life within public and private space. In terms of here and there, there were some differences, but New York and India were very different when I was growing up in the '80s. Definitely in terms of the visual and popular culture I encountered within my home - that was very different from the complete lack of representation I saw of South Asian culture outside of that space.
It's interesting to think about connecting the dots within an archive in a different way than linearly or teleologically. It's a great delight to make art or use language or just have ideas, and put them together in a very unexpected way. Art gets categorized historically, geographically, by medium, not necessarily by concept or repeating imagery, or feminism or femininity.
I was working within a figurative representational framework, and there was a sense of reading the painting as a transparency, or truth, or autobiography, which I think is partially the burden of artists of color - or women, or anybody who is representing a so-called minority position. Are you actually telling a true story, or your own story? You don't just get to tell a story. The readings of the work didn't necessarily conform to my own understanding of mythology, where violence and eroticism and the body and all of these different forms coexist all the time.
I'm interested in representation that falls outside of what would be socially appropriate, or acceptable, or beautiful. The world is going through a very fundamentalist moment. You have right-wing politics and misogyny and religion employed together everywhere - here in the US, with issues like abortion. Religion is a very fraught and complicated topic, but at the same time, like all grand historical narratives, there is a potential for challenging, or rethinking the kinds of subjectivities that these meta-narratives produce.
I think that in the diaspora, and among immigrants, religion becomes a vehicle for the transmission of cultural information, and cultural codes, and this does end up re-inscribing certain things about the religion - like caste. Caste discrimination and hierarchy are still a very fundamental and violent part of Hinduism. My family was upper caste, and that was very clear. I feel like caste and religious practice are inextricable, actually.
I'm trying to make sure that the visual connections between the disparate elements are strong enough for the viewer to keep moving through the work. It's in paying attention to those hundreds of details that the flow of the line will guide an audience through the narrative in a way that will make them enter it enough to engage with it, and perhaps construct their own narrative.
I love working with younger people. I feel like we need to catch up with them. In South Asian art it's important to address the fact that the majority of what we see is Hindu, and based in Hinduism, and that it has a social and cultural history. Islam and Muslim culture are often now figured as these outside invaders who came into India, and this is in the service of a more right-wing nationalist discourse that is Islamophobic. And that's part of the worldwide Islamophobia moment that we're having right now.
I'm more interested in moving toward writing stories - thinking about the graphic novel form, and just something more long-form. I did a lot of literary translation in college. Translation is an art. But for sure writing has always been a part of how I think through my ideas.
All existing art was religious until perhaps a hundred years ago. Within that there's obviously been lots of room for manipulation. I think that's because our current religion is capitalism. Capitalism has the functions of patronage, commissions, control of content, bestowing of space, elevation of certain artists over others based on how much they pander to people in power, the determination of value of the work, all of it. Capitalism commissions artwork now, the market.
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