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  Vidya Kamat's Interviews

July 2008

Q.What Kind of work you are showcasing in this exhibition( painting/sculptures… what mediums have you used? Etc.)
A. My work can be classified as digitally modified prints. All it means is I take a digital photograph and later manipulate it on a computer using layers and blends in order to arrive at a desired image.

Q.What message are you trying to get through to audience?
A. Through my work I am exploring how we construct memory; memory of self/ nation/state, memories which are private and personal, memories which may be true or at times false. This particular series is called ‘Birth.Marks’, and deals with memories that are culture specific and given to you at the time of your birth, and may or may not fade away with time. I have tried to show how these cultural memories get embedded in to your skin like a birthmark or a tattoo. Skin is the largest organ of the body and also the site where we unwittingly “tattoo” cultural differences and similarities. At times these writings on the skin appear as beautiful decorations or as very private and personal tales which we want to hide from others or even from ourselves.

Q.Do you think Thai and Indian culture are similar?
A. Yes and no. We know that in past these two countries have had close ties and the exchange of ideas have certainly left impact on both that are very much palpable and visible in the visual culture and gastronomic sphere . But if you look beyond these apparent similarities, these two nations have their own distinct identity and character.

Q.Do you think there are still some ( negative) stereotyping associated with both of the cultures? Like Thais thinking of Indians in certain way and vice versa? If so, what are some.
A. Stereotyping happens as a result of imperfect knowledge about other cultures. As more and more people from two countries are interacting with each other in sphere of trade, commerce, culture and entertainment, and also with the information revolution dissolving political and cultural boundaries , such stereotypes ( especially negative) are fading away.

Q.What do you think exhibition like these do for society as a whole?

A.As said earlier, exhibitions like these where artists from two countries get to exhibit with each other certainly helps us to erase boundaries and find common grounds for renewed interaction and create a new environment of learning and sharing . I would like to congratulated the Soulflower gallery for their sustained efforts to actualize such shows and the curators Pandit Chanrochanakit and Brian Curtin of the show for titling the show as ‘Ethics of Encounter’ .

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