Saturday, November 22, 2014

My body; my territory

A few years ago, I watched a show in a small little theatre. The promotional message received promised a play by some very creative people. As it happened, the play ended with a man walking naked from the wings to the front of the stage. The audience watched in silence until the play ended. Then they left, each one lost in the privacy of their own thoughts.

Just a couple of days ago, on a business trip, I was at Sector 127 NOIDA, UP, India and at IHDP building close to HCL, when I chanced upon the image below in the entrance of the building.

Sculptor's impression of sodomy between a woman and a horse
Both reminded me of one thing, that being, our bodies are private for each one of us and whether we want to flaunt it or to hide it, is our personal decision to do so, but if we want to flaunt it to a rapt audience, we need to ask permission to do so. While on the one hand it is our right to do what we want with our bodies, but on the flip side, it is also a fact that the viewer may not want to see our bodies at all. That is a possibility. I was deeply offended that in the first case, the actor showed me his body, without asking me, whether I wanted to see his naked body at all. Actually I did not. I had seen a number of naked men – and women, whose bodies I wanted to see and touch, but that was with permission of the person. Here I was forced to see one, I had not asked for.

Women have been shouting that the privacy of their bodies must be respected, which also means, the privacy of their minds. We are at a point where the line of distinction of what is creative and personal, and what is creative and public is losing its boundaries. It is indeed, a bit jarring when, one goes for a professional meeting and finds at the entrance of the building, a sculpture of the nature of the above. Are we to understand that the creative force called sex is a figment of the artist’s mind, or are we to deduce that the sculptor was represented in the horse or the hapless woman - what are we to make of such creative art? And then, the question arises as to why, a corporate house must house this one, when there were other choices too, I am sure.

To a certain extent, what we project in our behavior as artists may be reflective the society we live in, but on the other hand, are these images not responsible too for the increase of atrocities of the ‘powerful’ over the lesser one? Are we, therefore, not in some way responsible too?

I have a breath picking up force at my throat to scream - my body; my territory and without my permission, I don’t want to see it displayed in public in any representation. And without my permission, I don’t want to see yours in whatever way you think I want to see it.


That said, let us see what others have to say about it.




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