Wheels of Vimana, WIP
The series mines what is not working, what has not been used, things that are seemingly “useless”, yet have been saved for years. The work emulates a machine, underscoring the very human ability to put things back together in terms of a life, in terms of a workable fix, in terms of healing. The pieces are becoming cogs; useful, engaging parts of the whole. Created as a centering mechanism, the mandalas became something of a conceptual response to machinism.
These particular mandalas were started during the Baltimore Uprising in 2015. I live not too far from the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue where much of the action was occurring. The near constant, multi-day din of multiple helicopters overhead was the main impetus for this body of work. “Vimana”, from the Sanskrit, refers to ancient mythological flying machines; I likened them to the present day helicopter rotors/blades.
The issue (among others) was that I could not hear myself think, so this was a creative means of centering myself from the anxiety — of the pervasive noise pollution from the machines overhead, and of the violent machinations of society. While I am very used to hearing and seeing helicopters on the weekend nights, the events of 2015 brought a better understanding to me that it’s every day for some neighborhoods in the city. The perspective I had was ultimately about the effects of violence, and the tools I had as a person/artist to relieve these anxieties, to be able to reach for a sense of peace and wholeness where there was none. I recognized that many do not have the privilege of these same tools, or seemingly, the right to either “peace” or “quiet”.