“When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.”
– CG Jung in Memories, Dreams, Reflections
And in the rhizome there are these “ephemeral apparitions”, the bright yellow and the electric blue of my dazed youth, the withered brocades in my mother’s wardrobe, the ubiquitous corduroys of our childhood and the empowering shoulder pads and the sequins of the disco era, a phase of our youth. Memory is mostly an imagined sequence, hazy in parts, bright with sharp colour palettes in bits and even rendered in black and white. I call them reflections. The childhood recollection of the fields, the trees, the sights from the train of unending fields and that horizon that stretched beyond. And then there were the cityscapes, a changed reality of a migrant who comes to a metropolis with buildings stretching far and beyond and even the sunsets come through reflections, passing through many windows, buildings and distortion itself becomes the basis of altered visual complexity of memory. In our adapted personas, we try and collapse the nostalgia that makes us long for what only remains in memory. This collection is an act of remembrance, a suspension of disbelief and a confession that memory like cities go through metamorphosis.
It is not an attempt to recreate. It is just my method of carrying forward the memory of fabric as I saw in my mother’s closet, the heady music videos of the 1990s where nothing was shocking and the colours burst like fireflies dancing in a discotheque. I have mixed the memories of my lifetime- the kinkhab, the satin, the sequins, the mandatory knit wool sweaters.
It is not what we remember but how we remember. And trends are beautiful. They remind us that nostalgia is ‘classic’. There is a ‘time dust’ on everything. Memory is fleeting, teasing and full of mischief. The black and white apparitions of buildings arranged geometrically is because the sun had to be orange, a burning one to make the city not a labyrinth but a tapestry of memories of migrants.
This is my homage to the hazy, blurry, bright and shiny memories of a migrant traversing, navigating cities and yet preserving the rhizome because what is life if not a series of longing of what once was. This is memory imagined and reimagined.