The Blossoming Effect is an installation that investigates aspects of the experience of immigration, confronting personal and larger cultural facts in a narrative format. More specifically, my work addresses the “desi” experience. Derived from Sanskrit, “desi” means “one from our country.” It usually refers to people of Indian, Pakistani, and Bengali descent.
“The Blossoming Effect (1)” is a 7-foot-high charred wooden sculpture. I see this structure as a hand-dug hole, a record of labor, literally my own, and also a metaphor for my father’s struggle toward the elusive American dream. Another piece of the installation uses the faded Persian rug of my childhood for another meditation on labor and the passage of time.
With fabric and glitter and high-pitched voices, I create alternate endings to my bad dreams. A utopia/playground/safe space that, by definition, does not exist.
Choosing fabric, cutting shapes, and sewing them into three-dimensional forms (and doing this process metaphorically for video performances,) provides more autonomy than I have ever had.
In my fictional floating world, gender is fake, money is fake, language is fake, and time is fake. As long as everything is intangible and my feet are two inches off the ground, there is no reason to fear being misgendered, misunderstood, mistreated. I move in and out of planes of reality, sometimes as myself and other times as the sex doll Mai Li.
My head remains in Japan, not present with my body. My body, the vessel, carries a five year old (vulnerable and confused). She remembers all the times two languages weren’t enough to communicate boundaries. The Invisible Please Don’ts manifested a soft shell, colored and textured like Crayola Crayons and Beanie Babies. A womb like I shared with my brother, binary from birth.