Covering the window with acrylic paint in an effort to ease the pane with paint and vice-versa.

acrylic on canvas
72 in X 48 in

acrylic on canvas
72 in X 35 in
Pix by Sahar Z

Art for me works on a principle of extraction, let's call it the Penetratus Principle. The artist to me is like a drilling rig with a very, very long proboscis. He swings this proboscis like a giant lasso and attaches himself to the ground or the ether that envelopes us all. These mediums become for him photo-sensitive experience-catchers. The world for him becomes a huge and layered amber in which is trapped millennia of drama.

Like a paleontologist the artist drills into this amber for things felt and things lived out long ago and far away.

I think any material has the capacity to become an amber trap. The artist-rig can extract ‘oil’ from any material. Extract and bring it to the surface. Of his canvas or whatever spatial grid his works inhabit.

Me at work on Takato Saita’s Viel Vergnügen (Much Enjoyment)
FluXuS exhibition, NGMA, New Delhi
On till June 2, 2008

So what gives the artist this deep drilling advantage?

I think it is largely a gift. A gift that lies in sort of diviner’s talent for knowing where to dig and how deep. And in becoming a human rig.

A lot of times people assume that art is an easy gift. And that it flows seamlessly through the hands of the artist. But in my humble experience there is nothing easy or pat about this gift.

The gift as I see it is in the kick of energy that is at the artist’s disposal… but he has to constantly keep spending this kick... keep doing stuff, creating ex nihilo something (new) out of nothing (new). Pushing the envelope. Transgressing. Enlarging our understanding of the creator/cosmic order.

It’s not as if the artist plans these things or enumerates his method, saying I will now do this or that to this end or that.


Like any other gift extraction also is a double-edged sword. The drilling, at different points in the amber of time and space, gives the artist a sense of dislocated awareness. A feeling (very strong) of constantly walking through a string of studio sets. Of being alive in different realities simultaneously. Of realising that they exist.

The rig can be an exhilarating place. It can also be demanding (of your time, attention and participation). It’s almost always delusional, in the sense that it dissolves the ground beneath your feet and gives you a fluid perch. It makes you feel as if you’re walking on a water bed. On another extreme it can leave you bruised blue and despairing for no apparent reason.
Pic: Keshav C

72 in X 40 in
acrylic on canvas
WHY... for e.g. is the Earth blue

PENETRATUS (pronounced penae-trah-tuss): As geneological accounts go, Penetratus is my creation! He is the god of vapours and dust and climbing roots and tongues and sexual organs. Or anything that has the capacity to ENTER any other thing. In laymanese Penetratus is the god of penetration, somewhat like a next generation Priapus, the fucker. But Penetratus does not break barriers he makes them redundant. His great power lies in his ability to possess things, anything and everything. In the process of possession Penetratus becomes the thing that he is possessing. And the things become him i.e. another Penetratus. In that he is also the god of alchemy. Of transformation. Of micro-change... that begins somewhere at the level of the DNA or the atom.

Size: 6 ft X 6ft (72 in X 72 in)
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Pic: Sahar Z (installation by a Chinese artist at Dubai Art Fair, 2008)

Ram Dhakeli was of course dreaming. The dream had started when MD-saab hit the red wedding bed. After the spurious terror of her dream Ram Dhakeli was overjoyed to see MD-saab sleeping on his side facing her. The protoplasm on his back was gone. He was at peace. Not gone but alive and eager even in his sleep to inhale the scent of his new bride.

Ram Dhakeli knew that a death dream was an auspicious dream. She could now see her life change colour. Turn into something she had never imagined. But the change was slow and at the same time sudden.

She hadn’t quit her job at Vun Vibhag. She and MD-saab remained Boss and P2MD. They came to work at different times, took different roads. She had her red Atlas cycle with basket, headlight and collapsible stand. He: an ’80s Ambassador painted rare rust.

Ram Dhakeli had sensed her new husband’s desire to mend fences with his old pal Miltree Sir. Miltree Sir and Ram Dhakeli were now more friends than proxy father-daughter.

She tried inviting him to her new house in Scutler Palace when MD-saab was away but RETDLTCOL Budge did not budge. He preferred the silent familiarity of their soured bond to the eager strangeness of a born-again friendship.


It’s early December and the road’s teeth and cavities are hibernating. For once the sun is too far away to make the teeth shine. Ram Dhakeli is on a mission, without her bicycle. She is wearing her favourite tie-n-dye night blue sari. Once out of the office she wedges a droopy pink hibiscus in her oiled plait. The diamond on her nose is playing light tricks like a pinhole camera. She is going to invite Miltree Sir once again to her house for dinner. And she isn’t going take a ‘no’ for an answer.

It is going to be a surprise for both MD-saab and Miltree Sir.

Far in the distant snout of the hibernating road the invisible Boo Man is furiously paddling his bicycle. He is speeding with a giant hairpiece of snake balloons. Today he is Big Mommy Medusa on a bicycle. He is speeding because people are trying to shoot him. He is being shot for a American TV documentary called 'Curious Careers'. Boo Man has been paid the cost of his air and plastic merchandise twice over for the two days of shooting. This is in excess of the five thousand rupees he’s been given as advance payment. He is asked to play himself i.e. Boo Man and avoid meeting the camera eye to eye.

Lay-jow, lay-jow bail-loon lay-jow. The Balloon Man is singing his 'take-away' song.

Ram Dhakeli is unaware of Boo Man or the shoot. She is unaware of the curious effect that Boo Man will have on her life. His bicycle is sliding down the hibernating road. He is approaching the road’s end which is like a huge croc jaw open at sixty degrees. So much wind has never passed through Boo Man’s bicycle spokes. Dust is following him like a swarm of angry bees. He is unaware of a night blue obstruction near the croc jaw’s end. He sees Ram Dhakeli but it’s too late and the bicycle, plastic hair and all, crashes into her. Rubber brakes jam on steel, two strangers scream, balloons burst and plastic things break. “CUT,” shouts an angry voice on an angry sounding horn and people rush to rescue Ram Dhakeli from a mangle of steel, plastic and rubber. The noisy collision sends an alarm to the screechers of Budge House. But after the brief pause Budge House is hysterical with laughter.

The road teeth have again claimed the accidental Boo Man. Ram Dhakeli’s a victim of Boo Man. Boo Man is hurt. A plastic horn splinter has entered him in the soft of his neck, just above the jugular. A first aid box comes to deliver him of the pain and blood loss. Among the crew is Yogi Hanneman, assistant cameraman to the crew. He is the first to reach Ram Dhakeli, who is slowly regaining consciousness.



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As an art practitioner I work in a variety of mediums, what you see here are glimpses of my many creative projects. If you like or feel strongly something here please don't forget to comment



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