Confessions of an Evil Orientalist, by Waswo X. Waswo
December 8, 2011 – January 12, 2012
Artworks in Exhibition
Confessions of an Evil Orientalist, by Waswo X. Waswo and his collaborators R. Vijay and Rajesh Soni, seeks to explore the resounding influence of colonialism and perceptions of the foreign in modern India. The show is a humourous and satirical inquiry into popular stereotypes, and allows the viewer to observe and critique culturally-crafted notions of what is Indian and what is not. Central to the theme is the character of the Evil Orientalist, along with whom the viewer embarks on a visual journey through colour-tinted photographs, miniature paintings and installations. Waswo’s modern renditions of Rajasthani miniatures represent the chronicles of this traveller through the supposedly mystical, alien lands of India, while the photographs are perhaps documentation of the Orientalist’s finds and fantasies. A Hanuman theme runs throughout, perhaps representing the aggressive hegemony of which the colonial gaze is born. Central to this exhibition are the Confessions, a list-poem of 101 statements concerning the thoughts and behaviours that the foreigner admits to indulging in during his travels. Through verbal and visual form, Waswo’s art encourages the viewer to question cultural alienation and inherent demarcations of who belongs and who is an outsider.