Medusa’s Affair

Chinar Shah

How does one negotiate desire within the hegemonic rules of love and marriage? When the utterance ‘love’ is barred, if one is denied access to a romantic self, how, then, can one inhabit a relationship with another? When ‘the undesirable’ body and polymorphous sexualities do not exist in language, how can one love in the name of this body?

Access to love and sexuality is a constant struggle. Marriage and notions of heterosexuality are so deeply rooted within us that it is impossible to find a language of desire outside it. Phrases such as ‘I love you’, ‘I want to be with you’, ‘Will you be mine’ and so on are so claimed by the heterosexual marriage spaces so that other forms of desire or love escape these expressions.

This narrative tries to encompass such complexities of desires. It is told from the first person point of view of the fictional character Medusa. In mythology, Medusa was raped in the temple of Athena. Enraged, the goddess Athena turned Medusa’s hair into serpents and cursed that whoever looked at her would turn to stone. Not only was Medusa raped, but was also forced into a life long exile. In this work, Medusa is not the woman who repulses the gaze, who is forced to be an asexual being. This is a story of her love affairs.

About the Artist

Artist Website

Chinar Shah is a photo-based artist from India. She is also a curator of a home gallery called ‘Home Sweet Home’. Her work ‘Silenced Ruptures’ (2012) on Gujarat riots has been a travelling exhibition cum memorial around India. Her recent work ‘Aravanis’ (2015) was shown during the launch of Look Photo Festival at Tate Liverpool, curated by Anna Fox and subsequently has been featured and shown in many places including Art Bangaluru. She has also been part of many international artist exchange programs. Chinar Studied Literature and Cultural Studies at English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad and later did her PGDP in Photography from NID, Ahmedabad, India. She is currently course leader for postgraduate diploma program and a coordinator for photography discipline at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India.