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SAP: “Imagining Otherwise: The (Cyber) Goddess in Chitra Ganesh’s Comic Art"

Monday, October 17, 2016 at 12:15pm to 1:15pm

Uris Hall, GO8
Central Campus

Brooklyn-based visual artist, Chitra Ganesh (b. 1975) engages comics and fantastical imagery that undermine accepted narratives around nationhood, hetero-patriarchy, and conventions of storytelling that prioritize certain heroes over others. Her playfully intertextual subversions have been mostly analyzed in terms of their “Indianness”, and by extension, “diasporic-ness”. By shifting attention from content to form, I locate her practice within a tradition of underground comics that upend the semiological and ideological underpinnings of the genre. Relying on mythological and science fictional modalities, she recasts her main character, the goddess figure, as a boundary trope that challenges the ‘great modern divide’ distinguishing the human from the non-human. I connect Tales of Amnesia (2002), Ganesh’s first zine and collection of prints to a more recent endeavor, Eyes of Time (2014-15), an installation exploring the alternate temporal dimensions of the goddess figure. This comparative suggests a broader arc in her practice: her junglee re-imagination of the goddess in Tales relates to the more future-oriented figure of the cyborg in Eyes – boundary figures across mythology and science fiction – to tell another kind of story about excess, one that counters dominant ideologies that contain and regulate the goddess, and by extension, the human.

Biography: Natasha Bissonauth, a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University, completed her M.A. at the Courtauld Institute of Art (2006) and a B.A. at McGill University (2005). Prior to doctoral studies, she worked in New York City’s contemporary South Asian art scene. She has published artist interviews, exhibition reviews, and articles in publications such as Art Asia Pacific, Art India, and Photography & Culture. This year, Natasha is the Art History Pre-Doctoral Fellow at Ithaca College. Her dissertation, Play at the Turn of the Millennium examines contemporary South Asian diasporic art and the role of playful aesthetics (such as camp, parody, and the carnivalesque) in reshaping the visual culture of difference.

Event Type



Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, South Asia Program




Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Barry Doeffinger

Contact Phone



Natasha Bissonauth

Speaker Affiliation

PhD candidate, Cornell University

Disability Access Information

GO8 accessible. Other call 607-255-8493

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