My ancestors on my father's side come from a village called A. Thekkur in Chettinad, an arid region of about 70 small villages some 100kms from Madurai in Tamil Nadu. Nattukotai Chettiars were traders, and traveled to South East Asia and beyond, buying and selling precious gems, silk, tea, spices and salt. During the height of their success in the 18th and early 19th century, they built grand mansions in these remote villages; fanciful fortresses, inward facing with imposing exteriors and elaborate stucco work, Chettiar homes were a fusion of Western, South East Asian and Indian architecture.Read More
This past December, I took a weekend trip to the seaside town of Pondicherry on the South East Coast of India. A two hour drive from my hometown, Chennai, this former French colony is an eclectic mash-up of French and Indian. You might know it from Yann Martel's famous book, Life of Pi, and if you were to visit for the first time, you wouldn't be the first traveler to walk its colorful streets in search of the zoo. There is no zoo in this town, but it's so worth a visit. Tamil street names still begin with "Rue" and French and Tamil homes alike, are painted beautiful hues of turquoise, pink and orange.
My recent series of smaller works on paper, titled "Pondicherry" gets its color palette, energy and shapes from iphone images I took while wandering the streets.