A Late morning with Usha Seejarim
at The Bag Factory.
I have seen her for many years, but had never looked at her. I had often heard her, but had never listened to her. Finally, we made the time to talk. It became a revelation to me.
Usha was moving quietly and gently in her environment at the Bag Factory where we had decided to meet, at the core of one of her studio spaces. She invited me to join in. Usha welcomed me with a fruit juice and her kindness: “La sobriété heureuse” of Pierre Rabhi, interpreted delicately, respectfully and with required dignity.
Usha told me of her life, her challenges as a mother, as a wife. She slowly moved onto her works. She opened a few drawers. We even went to look in another room where she had hung a few bigger pieces.
I realised quickly that I had the pleasure of encountering a lady, a priestess of the temple of our daily lives. Domesticity was celebrated with parsimony while glorified without reservation. A gentle and soft visual music was emanating from the sheets. My being started to detox….
My gaze now inebriates itself with the rhythm of the pegs. Daily, painstakingly, darkness precedes or follows the light. Day after day, night after night, true love unfolds. These wooden pegs, structure and organise themselves like an army, a code bar or a DNA reading. Each peg’s marking reveals its identity, sings its right to diversity and respects the ordinance of the days, repeatedly. “Diurnal” is the matrix of this series of drawings. The seminal work shared life thereafter with famous sisters and noble brothers.
Time runs out and the irons dance tirelessly within structures born from the chaos of life. The marking, the trace appears. “Morituri te salutant” One after the other, they come to silently pay respect to a civilisation on its way. They shall remain the masks of our human condition castrated by greed through colonisation, globalisation or overpowering consumerism, and will for ever owe their sustainability to initial and essential bravery.
To conclude our first encounter Usha offers her mirrored shield to Medusa, the Gorgon of our absurdity. She traces the imprint of a New York City man-hole cover which had, not so long ago, the audacity to claim the infamy of its Indian origin.
A relationship is born. Thanks to life, thanks to the arts.
Keep walking, Usha, Johannes Vermeer would be proud of you…
Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid ,1657-1658