One of the visual metaphors we have been working with is constructing a symbolic forest. The juxtaposition of the forests of both Bangalore and the Bay Area became mutual entry points where our cultural differences start to blur and collapse, building our collective imaginations. In our studio, we simulated drawings of forests of the iconic redwood and banyan trees found in our two landscapes, to explore cultural influences and commonalities.
In constructing our first simulated forest, we invited two traditional henna artists, Lokesh and Sunil from the Raj Mehandhi Arts, to join us in our studio. Here, they worked with our images of forest drawings, combining them with traditional motifs, to begin constructing a simulated landscape. Reflecting on the trunks of banyan trees documented during our explorations on the land, we used our arms as canvases to explore the color and texture of our skin and the relationships we share among our bodies and the land.