Scrapbook, Portraits in context –– expands with additions

Scrapbook, Portraits in Context, is a collection of disparate stories told through portraiture. I create each artwork as a self-contained and multi-layered story. Various elements in the pieces evoke personal memories in the viewer.

Like a scrapbook, storylines vary and presentation style is casual.

The most recent set of stories is a diptych, Caged and Free, which focuses on personal freedom. I refer here, not to the oppressed people of the world, but the majority of folks in the middle and right of the “life treated you fairly” spectrum. You know, many of us, humans!

In the absence of external suppression, we humans are captives of our mindset. We box ourselves into compartments.

Caged, part 1 of the diptych depicts this state. Humanoid figures in various poses, confined to bounded spaces. Broken lines show the porous nature of the boundaries and signifies the “cage” in our mind. We humans fail to escape such self-inflicted confines for “x” reasons.

While more than one figure is depicted attempting flight from the confines, only one appears ready to breakout, signifying the rarity of individuals who seriously prepare to implement.

Free, part 2 of the diptych, portrays one of those rare individuals who escapes self-confinement. Shown here, in take off mode. Hopefully, reveling in the freedom to fulfill their potential.

One of my published poems encapsulates the diptych:

Free spirit

More coal train, than
By choice.
©2010 Cariappa Annaiah, Truisms – Mostly, Volume I, Inwardstep Publications, USA. Reproduced with permission.

I draw or photograph people, and objects, print the portraits on paper, tear these prints, use the pieces and other objects to create temporary collages, capture the collage in-camera, and print the collage on canvas. In essence, the portraits are created twice. First, as a primary portrait, and second, part of a collage and story. In this diptych, each primary portrait, was created digitally, using my finger as stylus.

Post-processing is limited to contrast adjustment. The ephemera are dismantled, and live only as a varnished, archival canvas print, hence the term for this medium, mixed media collage captured in 2D, archival pigment inks on canvas.

To explore this series on my Art page, please click here.