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Isha Bhandaru


Into the Scar (Transcendence into Dishti)

tracing paper, matte medium, salt, chilli peppers, lime, glassware, water, monofilament, wood, paint, sound recording
100” x 133” x 88”

The piece responds to the prompt of memory by exploring how each scar is inextricably tied to a memory, whether good or bad. I specifically looked at a scar on my knee (my first ever scar) which I got from playing cricket with my brother and other kids in India. The tracing paper is broken in the shape of my scar to symbolize how people are looking at the specific memory behind that scar.

My parents and grandparents told me that I had gotten my scar because of dishti, evil eyes or bad energy wished upon you by others through jealousy or comments. In my culture, dishti can be removed by someone putting salt and chilies in their hands and saying a mantra to the person with dishti, then washing away the salt and/or chilies with water. They are essentially saying that 'the bad energy should be washed away as easily as the salt washes away from my hands'. Limes or lemons are also used for other kinds of dishti. I used symbolism throughout the entire inside (ex. floor is made of chilies and salt) to illustrate how the memory is filled with dishti.  The whiteness of the inside except for the chilies and the pungent smell of the chilies illustrates how often rather than the actual memory itself, the feeling behind it is more clearly remembered and how details of memories are often changed or forgotten.


(Click on image to enlarge)




Untitled #3 (Self-Portrait) OR Can You See This?

pencil on paper
24”x 18”

In this self-portrait, I went beyond my physical appearance to discuss my inner self. I added fire in the background demonstrating the anger and the short temper that I have which most people don't see. I also burned the portrait to show how the fire in the back is coming out and how the two sides of myself are coming together.  The first also discusses a kind of change and rebirth in a sense as it gives the piece new meaning and it also alludes to the legend of phoenixes. The look on my face is more serious than I actually am. 


Golden Ratio

Performance with rice, bathroom scale, kitchen scale, twine, scissors, plastic bags
Friday, November 13, 2020

The concept of the piece is about body image and how the world has become obsessed with numbers. I weigh myself on a scale, write it down, create a bag of rice proportional to my weight and hang it on myself, then repeat. This repetition demonstrates how society has a ritualistic obsession with matching unattainable beauty standards which are created with numbers. The rice represents people commenting and putting burdens on each other in terms of body image and how people are over conscious about calories, and measurements. The further along you go down the path of self-hatred the heavier you and your burden becomes. I tie the bags around myself to demonstrate how people are trapped into this cycle. The dress I am wearing was supposed to be my 16th birthday dress, but I decided to not wear it as it did not fit me in the chest. This relates to how girls are forced to fit a ratio for their bust, waist, and hips in order to wear what they want and look 'normal'. The piece is intended to start a conversation on body image and why our society is so obsessed with pinning standards on others.

(Click on image to enlarge)