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Vermillion Rising Twice

Vermillion Rising Twice

"Vermillion Rising Twice": A durational performative artwork that harnesses the strength of art activism to explore memory, inequality and the impact of assumed bias through the mediums of film and multi-media installation.

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$15.00 raised of $6,700.91 goal

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Vermillion Rising Twice

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• A signed thank you note from the artist

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About the Project

Vermillion Rising Twice is a multi-layered installation and durational performance that utilises sound, scent, sculpture, and audience interaction. The work, developed as a second iteration of an ongoing series, explores feminine subjectivity in relation to social frameworks, structural inequality, and movement politics. Actively rejecting the tight confines within which they, and other people of marginalised genders, have been placed, Tara Arts International present this work as a method of activism, community outreach, and self-realisation.

The first iteration of Vermillion Rising (pictured above) saw Tiffany Singh sat for eight hours a day, unclothed, in the gallery space and surrounded by sindoor, flowers, salt, curry leaf, incense, and candles. In front of her was a makeshift wall created with bells crafted in collaboration with artisans living in India's Kachchh desert, India. The ancient craft of bellmaking is formed with simple hand tools and are fired in small homemade kilns. Each bell is tuned by the bellmaker until the sound rings true. Beaming from behind her and falling upon her back and the bells was a projection of Naya Zamana (1996),a narrative drama film by Mandrika Rupa about an Indian working class girl's silent and sweet rebellion against cultural expectations. Over the two days, the performance and audience engagement was documented to be made into an art film exploring the experience. It was by drawing upon this experience that Tara Arts realised the potential, and vital necessity, of continuing the work in another form and utilising all that was accessed within Tiffany's meditations.


Performance here becomes a ritual in itself. In this second iteration, Tiffany will return to the same pose, again to sit within a gallery space in a durational performance. This time she will be surrounded by hanging veils of transparent fabric, enclosing her within delicate veiled walls, simultaneously private, voyeuristic, ethereal, and domestic. Four projections will fall through the fabrics and onto her from different points of the room, colliding with one another in the process. Each projection shows moments from the original performance of Vermillion Rising, thus situating Tiffany within a scene of past selves, times, and processes. Whilst also allowing the audience to engage with her, a happening that will ultimately become part of the ongoing work, the work becomes a moment of intertwined time spans, representing the past, the now, and the future. This is resonant of alternative indigenous philosophies where time and being are non-linear constructs. Hence, the work ultimately represents a kaleidoscope of fluid, complex, and multiple identities, actively rejecting the subjugation of being as something to be rigid or imposed.

With Tiffany sat upon a ground of sindoor, a material with a nuanced history of subjection and reappropriation within India, the work begs enquiry specifically into the subjection of women throughout the history of the Indian Caste system. In speaking to Tara Arts, they explained, "through our research of the international Indian diaspora, we have discovered the widespread incidence of egalitarian clans having left India as self-exiles. These early diasporic clans were still attempting to dismantle a caste based identity imposed upon them by others. They left India to flee the system of graded inequality". The reappropriation of sindoor in this context revokes its patriarchal connotations, and instead reclaims it in its original spiritual and cosmological purposes.

The making of this work supports ongoing education with communities drawn from subaltern clans.

Funding of this work will enable the production and exhibition of this second edition, and further contribute to the support of youth hostel and community centre that was developed on the gifted ancestral land of the Rupa clan. Mandrika Rupas present day family gifted the property for philanthropic use in honour of their father Dayabhai Kaildas. This had been the clan's ancestral land tracing back to elder Rupa Sinhal in the 1850s. There have been many clan's involved in bringing this to fruition and Tara Arts International aims to extend the Rupa legacy. Positioning arts activism to champion the voice of the subaltern Indian Diaspora.

  • Mandrika Rupa

    Mandrika Rupa is an independent film artist, born in Gujarat, India. She came to New Zealand as a child in 1960. Her family left India to come to New Zealand in the early 1900’s. Her artistic sense developed out of social and community work, a desire to document stories of coming to a new land. Her films depict individuals from the South Pacific and the Indian diaspora, particularly the U.K. and USA, some of India’s poorest peoples that left India to carve out lives outside traditional frameworks. Mandrika’s work has been recognised at an international level with several screenings in London, New York and Paris. Museum exhibitions include Cambridge UK, the permanent collections at Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA) N.Y. and presentations at University of California at Berkeley, Columbia Film School, Chicago, Otago University, N.Z., and Columbia University, New York. Her work has also been shown at the Indian High Commission, Nehru Centre, Mayfair, and I.C.A. The Mall, London, U.K. Mandrika’s films are distributed worldwide by ProQuest, an imprint of Alexander Street Press, to the Academies, and through the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

  • Tiffany Singh

    Tiffany Singh was born in Aotearoa New Zealand of Indian and Pacific descent, Singh's practice explores the intersection between arts, education and wellbeing. Singh has worked on sustainable community outreach, exploring engagement in the arts through social practice methodology. Her interest in cultural preservation combined with an integrated social discourse has seen her use the arts as a vehicle to engender policy and advocacy of social justice, mobilising the strength of small artisan communities and social resources for stronger socio-economic development at local and international levels. Singh has represented New Zealand at the 18th Biennale of Sydney 2012, the Contemporary Asian Arts Biennial 2011 at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and the 12th Taewha Eco Arts Festival in Korea in 2018, and the World Women's Art Exchange Festival in Taiwan in 2022. She has work held in the permanent collections of Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Mater Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, The Sunshine Coast Hospital Australia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade New Zealand. In 2017 Singh was the recipient of the New Zealand Arts Foundation - New Generation Award and has received a Human Rights Award for her social justice project Fly Me Up To Where You Are.