Eva 2012

In the photographic series, Eva, the artist discusses the implications of framing his wife within his own identity questions. He does this directly onto his wife’s body with Mehndi - the impermanent pigment, which since 2004 Hetain has used as metaphor for his displaced heritage. The markings include a failed love letter, searching for a way to frame his life with hers through examining ideas of self. The absence of traditional henna patterning highlights the artist’s feeling of being unqualified to pass on anything authentically Indian to his wife. The appearance of Spider-Man imagery amplifies this further and suggests a more confident ownership of popular culture influences, playfully transposing the working class squatting posture from his family, with that of a popular Spider-Man pose.

Though produced in collaboration with his wife, she appears in the photographs further towards object than subject. Both Eva and The First Dance mark the beginnings of a negotiation between the artist and his wife, herself a curator. In Eva, the framing can be perceived with a sinister undertone as Hetain’s clothed male figure sits within the same domestic setting as his unclothed wife. The viewer’s gaze is directed differently however in The First Dance, where the protagonists are both implicated as subject and object.

In both pieces, the workspace of the studio and that of the domestic environment appear simultaneously. Where The First Dance uses film-influenced performance against the backdrop of the home and street, images in the Eva series show a divide of the same space, commenting on the artificial distinction between work and home, art and life.

Mehndi 8 (from Eva series), 2012
Digital photograph on archival paper
Diptych: 37cm x 34cm (top panel), 113cm x 28cm (bottom panel)

Mehndi 9 (from Eva series),
2012,
Digital photograph on archival paper,
Diptych: 33cm x 76cm (left panel), 72cm x 72cm (right panel)

Mehndi 10 (from Eva series), 2012
Digital photograph on archival paper
Triptych: 40.5cm x 72.5cm (left panel), 46cm x 43cm (middle panel), 27cm x 72.5cm (right panel)

Mehndi 11 (from Eva series), 2012
Digital photograph on archival paper
Diptych: 34.5cm x 49.5cm (left panel), 51.5cm x 63cm (right panel)

Mehndi 12 (from Eva series), 2012
Digital photograph on archival paper
Diptych: 32.5cm x 66cm (left panel), 103cm x 48cm (right panel)

Mehndi 13 (from Eva series), 2012
Digital photograph on archival paper
Diptych: 70.5cm x 80cm (left panel), 41cm x 81cm (right panel)

Mehndi 14 (from Eva series), 2012
Digital photograph on archival paper
Diptych: 41.5cm x 61cm (left panel), 53.5cm x 81cm (right panel)