“The Lungi is the most popular casual dress of the peasants and common people of the developing world or the ‘underdeveloped’ world.” The artist has taken a central aspect of the everyday visual appearance of many persons living in India as a metaphor for his art works.
In this way “The Lungi” is takes on new meaning where he and all others who wear this traditional garment are seen as fellow voyagers in their daily comforts and discomforts. For the artist it does not matter whether Lungi wearing compatriots are in agricultural fields, in markets or even at home. In his artworks the artist uses this nearly ubiquitous garment as a powerful visual tool to acknowledge the lives, the work, the ideas, the sweat and the tears of tens of millions of people.
He has used Lungi fabric and the simple media of India ink to create the physical works which viewer will encounter in Kerala. In doing so he has cleverly connected his interest in internationally and transculturally significant ideas and conceptual precedents with the actual garments and products that are a part of traditional life in India. In this the artist has provided us with a powerful means to understand that (through his art) he is speaking to all of us about our lives and how we connect with every other human being on the planet – even if we are perhaps not so aware of the nature of such connectivity.
Dr. John Antoine Labadie
The physical works exhibited in 2014, Kochi-Muziris Biennale (Collateral Projects), India.