- Address: New York, NY United States
Presented by RISE (Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity). Co-sponsored by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Deities (Part One) features thirteen digital prints composed by artist and A/P/A Institute at NYU Visiting Scholar Andil Gosine (York University). The prints were created during the artist’s participation in Project Prithvi, a monthly clean-up of Jamaica Bay organized by the Queens-based group Sadhana, and show broken idols of gods and goddesses, remnants of Hindu rituals performed by local residents. Gosine explains:
I started to make these offerings to water as long as I’ve known myself. Every time we went to the beach, the first thing my grandmother taught me to do was to find a flower and offer it to the ocean, with a prayer to Mother Earth. Each Divali, a “puja” would be performed at my parents’ home and the (usually entirely biodegradable) materials from it were supposed to be left at a river bank. There was something quite beautiful about growing up with that practice. But rituals have to change with the times and context. Encountering those idols at Jamaica Bay, most of them made from plastic or other toxic materials, I felt conflicted: they were beautiful and ugly; they elicited a warm sentimentality but they were also evidence of my own self-destructive habits. These offerings were supposed to offer a kind of reverence for nature, but they were actually destructive to the environment.
Gosine’s images underline this sense of conflict, and invite viewers to reflect on their own participation in rituals that need to shift with the times, and to respond to the on-going global ecological crisis. While Part One is on view, Gosine will pursue the creation of Deities (Part Two), to be shared in the space at a later date.