Flag (Warped) by Ayesha Singh
Metal and Digital Print on Silk, 2020 51 x 91.4 cm
AYESHA SINGH knows how to make you think. Part of her exhibition, ‘Within Contradiction’ (currently being hosted by Nature Morte on their website), is the work Flag (Warped). Printed on silk are the Parliament’s recognisable pillars, but what disrupts this familiarity is the provisional scaffolding that sits precariously below. The allusion to Narendra Modi’s Central Vista project is obvious, but Flag (Warped) does something more. It makes us see how architecture serves as a metaphor for memory.
Much has been written about how the prime minister has asserted power by ordering the partial razing of Lutyens Delhi, but its in her use of the flag that Singh makes visual her considered critique. The artist says, “We often look at the flag as a symbol of nationhood, nation-making, and recognition of the self in association with a geographically marked space. When ideas about belonging have been altered, what does the flag mean to us?” The genius of Singh’s work is that it resists all simple answers.