Sunday, March 13, 2011

Winding down in Delhi - saw films by women - powerful, went to a mall, saw "Black Swan" an anti-feminist film.

     Went to a Delhi mall last night - ate Asian Fusion food - what a shock that was after all this India fare. I loved it - great wanton soup, great chicken, great shumai. Karen Ma, Gemma Gorga and I (they are/were Sanskriti writers in residence here) and I then went to see "Black Swan." Don't bother - it's simply awful, a very anti-feminist film (how come that's not been noted, or has it?), written by men with their usual throwback mentality. Alas!
    The theater itself was very nice with red velvet seats that were very comfortable, even able to recline. They're far more comfortable than the airplane seats I've experienced on this trip.
     On the subject of films, last week Karen Ma took me to see two films by women at the India international Center where I performed in 1976, had a show and presentations there in 1993 (and stayed at that heavenly place - or those delicious marsala dosas - yum. yum). One short one was very provocative, calls "Is it a Game" a five minute film of two women playing this traditional/popular Indian game. It was filmed in two episodes. In each one, a woman was on one side of the court with many men grabbing at her to keep her from touching the white line and safety. It's a huge metaphor not only on the harassment women experience at the hands of men,but also on the pulling back of women's progress and the fierce struggle to overcome. From the comments by the men in the audience, it was clear they didn't get it. I realized (and commented on) that they identified with the men's hands on the women's bodies, not on the experience of the women. So, what's a woman to do??
     The featured film that day was "Made in India," about the pregnancy surrogate "industry" in India. Shocking, sad, and weird with a very fat American couple and a small, thin Indian woman carrying their baby (babies actually as it turned out to be twin girls). I recommend it as how else shall we become informed on what has become a billion dollar + industry. The women who carry those babies for America's infertile couples, well their take is minimal! And their risks??????
   Last days in Delhi now off to Jaipur on Tuesday, then Mumbai next Sunday, back to Delhi onthe 28th, take down my show at the American Center and then off to London for a week. All this time - will be seeing friends from last visits and looking at the modern India. So glad I came originally in the 1970's, and again in the 1990's as it gives me a unique perspective. Can't imagine what I'd think if this was my first visit. Well, India as ever is a land of contrasts, and the divide between the rich and the poor is more obvious than ever with the rising middle class becoming dominant.
    With my taking the subway into downtown Delhi very often since my show went up, and oftentimes to the American Center for press interviews and showing the work to interested collectors and folk, I note again and again, the women on the subway in the Women's Car. They are the mix and from all over India (originally from where? or for how many generations in Delhi??). They are working women, students, mostly not married, some married, some in traditional garb and others, the younger ones in jeans and tee shirts.That's' indeed progress for they clearly have more agency that their parents and grandparents who are most often the ones in the more tradtional garb.Many sport totally gorgeous Shalwar Kameez, the short dress with pantalooms. The varieties are truly stunning, and they mostly all sport dupattas/scarves/shawls, always. These women have inspired my "Women's Car" Face Painting. Take a look! Also, note the pic of the pastel, "The Seeing Tree" again with the "leaves" being women's faces - all different also as a nod to India miniature paintings. I'm donating this work to Sanskriti, and asked for it to be placed in the dining room on the side entry wall adjacent to Barbara Rothenberg's wonderful piece.

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