Inspired by the niche in the Victoria Terminus, Bombay, India.
130 x 60 x 30 cm
Victoria Terminus, by Kinnari Saraiya.
Recognise the complex relationship of the two names in the sentence above. One being the Queen, The Empress of India and the other, an Indian. Even though the Queen had never visited India throughout her time as the Empress, her power and authority had a presence through sculptures. One such building was the Victoria Terminus, built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of her reign as the Empress of India.
This statue was later removed from its niche by the Government after Independence but was never replaced. The act of removal, the vacuum, acts as a space of active protest. It challenges the language of monuments themselves. The fact that they do not represent the history of power and domination but rather subverts the same notion through the absence of presence.
‘Victoria Terminus’ is the exact replica of the plinth where the sculpture of the Empress stood. It is made out of jesmonite and painted with Chili, a vibrant spice with a prominent smell that is spicy and intolerable when consumed in great amounts, representing pain and violence. Plinths throughout history have glorified important people in power but when the same plinth is snatched of its royal person, it recontextualizes public monuments. This absence is highlighted through the presence of a spotlight just above the plinth.