In May 2016 I left my home in Charlottesville, Virginia to embark on a year of travel and research. With the help of a generous grant from the Kittredge Fund I returned to Varanasi, where I continued exploring local hand weaving practice and the multidimensional landscape of devotional culture in this incomparable sacred center.
Playing on the metaphorical link between text and textiles, my new work responds to the literary tradition of Kabir Das, an illiterate Varanasi weaver who became one of the great poet-mystics of medieval India. A scathing critic of religious and social hypocrisy, Kabir explained metaphysical experience through ingeniously elliptical metaphors drawn from his everyday life as a weaver. For Kabir, the acts of weaving, spinning thread and dying cloth went hand in hand with perpetual invocation. Cloth itself was one of Kabir’s favorite symbols for the ephemerality of the human state. The work I have been developing quietly and itinerantly for the past year is dedicated to his legacy.
Being on the road has also given me the opportunity to spend time in other places I love -- London, rural Ireland, Lahore. For the next two months I will be stationed in London, where I will continue preparing work for The Language of Objects, an exhibition that will be presented at the University of Buffalo Art Galleries this spring.