People and Places: Stories of India

Kahlons gouache paintings overlay 19th century book leaves featuring texts and images. Revisiting the original edagogical function of imagery in religious texts- schooling the illeterates in the scriptures- or the tutorial rationale of images in pornographic texts, she underscores the uneven access to the means of representation in books and images, and even the high levels of illiteracy, enforced by colonial regimes. Removed from their codicils, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places and similar works highlight how India was depicted in texts from the perspective of the colonizer, who self aggrandizingly couched the often sexualized facts of domination in a patronizing rhetoric of universal betterment. Kahlons work recalls Pierre Bourdieus query on the nature of reading: Can one read anything at all without wondering what it is that reading means, without asking what are the social conditions of the possibility of reading?

-Eva Diaz