An All-Star Caste

A two month artist's residency at Sanskriti Kendra, Delhi, India in 2011 was the perfect avenue to further my interest in the Hindu caste system, especially the Dalits that live below this caste system. I wanted to visually capture these street dwellers of Delhi in some personal way, pursuing an ongoing theme of depicting people existing under challenging circumstances and also reflecting on how poorly our fellow human beings can be treated by their own kind.

I arrived in India with the intentions of painting these subjects, most of whom I grew to know over a period of time, in my normal manner, but this was a struggle, initial paintings were left unresolved and I was not achieving whatever it was that I was looking for. The end product of this process was drawing with pencil, quite raw but fairly realistically, endeavouring to give these people some respect and dignity and also removing them from their oppressive backgrounds. Marginalised Indians, although a significant part of the population, are very rarely acknowledged and have almost accepted their lack of identity - thus the masks that highlight this. The silhouettes of these subjects and the shadows are also important - the ancient art of shadow reading could give an insight into just about anything.

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