GALLERY OED COCHIN - 12/12/2021 - 12/01/2022
Art for me is a process of mediation between myself and the world around me. I begin to work when I feel the need to express something. That something could be a half-formed image, or an idea with visual potential. I may not be sure of exactly what this something will become, but I know that a work is emerging when I am on the right track. The process of making images helps me to connect with the sources of my inspiration at different levels.
Dibin Thilakan is an emerging voice in the contemporary art scene of Kerala, based in Thrissur. Inspired by Indian Folklore, miniature and also by storytelling traditions, the artist emphasizes on his intention to communicate directly to the spectators through his art. Dibin's work featuring strong narrative aspects exploring the human condition, have received national level recognition and is a part of Sarmaya museum’s contemporary art collection.
Working as an artist over past seven years, I have come to realise that images have their own inner logic and their own stories to tell. The meaning of images lies in the encounter between the image and the viewer, an experience that is sensual, emotional. It depends on both the attention and the expectation of the person experiencing my work. The process of image making takes me into the strange and hidden parts of myself. This pleasure that images give me is the real reason behindmy repeated trysts with image-making.
Home is a concept which we carry around. I was brought up by my grandmother from the maternal side till the age of twelve. Even later I was moving quite often from one place to another. After my studies in Hyderabad I returned to Thrissur, where I continued my art practices. Last 10 years there had been no particular place, which I could call my home, I was renting different apartments, where I had my studio. I was changing the places, where I lived for some time. I stayed in the town, later I moved to the village. I realised, I found some kind of comfort and warmth in village life, where people and nature is much closer to each other. Finally I have settled in a beautiful village called Alappad.
In my works 'home' as a symbol is deliberately used during last years, since the Covid pandemic hit the world. It was a time, when me, my girlfriend (partner) and our dog Momo started to live together. Suddenly, we found ourselves stuck in our own private space. During that period, we were literally creating our own home. Pandemic and lockdown made us completely restricted to our four walls. For many people this situation turned their houses to prisons. They had to faces many difficulties, lost their jobs and dayily live, especially in the villages, became more complicated. It was a time, when I had begun to work on series 'Ode to Home'.
In India or in Kerala people’s lives are completely devoted to their homes. Parents live for their children expecting that they will look after them, when they will be older. You can’t really move out of this system easily. The key focus is always the 'home'.
The 'home' is the system built in the head. For me, there is also personal connection in a symbol of the house, my father was a construction worker, his life mission is 'bulding of the houses'. My parents come from different religion backgrounds. My mother is Roman Catholic and father is Hindu Vilkurup, he was born to the caste of artisans specialising in the house construction. If I were not educated I might had ended up like my father and many members of his family lineage as mason or construction worker. In the villages children used to chase their family lineage (masons son becomes mason, carpenters son become carpenter and so on). The process of building houses is literally in my blood lineage.
The circle, as a representation of the cycle of life, has been repeating in many of my recent works. Some circles appear as loops, many of them are closed circles from which we are unable to escape. Sometimes they represent the earth itself, the continuous circular movements of non-changing life on the planet, because I believee, that the fundamentals of life remains unchanged. More than lightness or heaviness of the vicious circle of life I’m trying to document or share the realisations or perspectives from which I’m experiencing it.
In most of my works, the body plays an important role. It is a territory. Through the representation of the body, I am probably trying to protect my turf. The body is an enormous territory that everyone can explore. I not only find inspiration from my surroundings but also draw inspiration from the works of artists, who deal primarily with the body. I get excited checking out how certain artists deal with it in completely different ways. It is a chance to see your own limits when you encounter some people doing things that you’d never do and pushing things further than you have. I think I look at the body from a very eccentric way because, one day I make stuff that is more conceptually based and then, the next day I do something that is idiosyncratic and personal. I feel compelled to do whatever occurs to me and it is not in any logical or linear format. I love seeing how distinct other artists’ takes on the body can be from mine, for examples Marina Abramovic, Nancy Spero, Francesco Clemente, Louise Bourgeoise and Kiki Smith. You can talk about it in political terms or from a spiritual perspective.
Art for me is a process of mediation between myself and the world around me. I have come to realise that images have their own inner logic and their own stories to tell. The meaning of images lies in the encounter between the image and the viewer.
There is an old saying that you originated from the soil and you would return into the soil. The time in between is called life. Many of the ancient civilizations connected women and soil (as an element of the earth) with fertility, seeds as the men fertile sperms, and worshiped them. Inception is sexual, but also social act. All life on earth is interconnected - plants, animals, humans - there is a circulation. The house filled with seeds represents fertility. It can be food or it can be a suggestion of new life coming from it.
In Kerala, I believe we are still unaware of sexual orientation or sexual education. Sexuality and related topics are covered by a huge layer of morality (contrary, India is considered as the land of Kamasutra). In this context I have started deliberately using the images of sexuality.
The family system in Kerala used to be matrilinear (called Marumakkathayam system). The concept of Tharavadu houses was always connected with big joint families. It was widely visible all over Kerala up to 2000. Then the things dramatically changed to the way it is visible now.
In my opinion, the present patriarchal system created last years and fake morality, is against the women rights. The home became a prison for the women. Many of them without questioning (or awareness) follow the parents lineage. The one who opposes most of the times faces consequences, strugle and even the death. Nowadays many incidents are coming out.
The Hindu temple symbolises a womb of the goddess. In a broad aspect earth is a womb from where we are all originating. The place of birth defines our identity. It moulds our character, behaviour, mannerisms and etc. But we can easily come out of it as well. We are all human beings, we came out similarly to the world. Love, equality, justice should be same for everyone. Love and humanity should be our religion, more than man made religions, political parties, human skin colour, or national borders.
Live and Death are the two antimonies, but at the same time they are part of alchemical proces like water and fire, which create an energy to move forward.
Water bodies are visible throughout in my recent works. Water as an essence of life and more than 60% of our body and Earth’s body is water. Movements of water is some time like a time and sometimes as source of life.
In my work titled 'Goddess & Non-Goddess Category', it is shown the paradox of perspectives towards women. One is showing the women is sitting like a goddess of fire and worshippers around her. Image can be connected to Sati (the ritual immolation of a wife on her husband's funeral pyre) or even Sita from Ramayana or any similar context (up to the audient). On another a woman got fired and screaming for help and people are taking videos or on looking to the happenings. These are paradoxes of today's life.
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