Wayward Sought-Ings: On Anatomy of a Horny Heart

Written by Arushi Vats

 

It may be best to begin with a memory. A figure of marbled flesh stands atop a plinth, through the folds of a robe one can discern the silhouette of legs, and beneath a draped foot the name “Venus” is emblazoned darkly. This marble statuette of the Roman goddess of love, a popular keepsake, had once stood on the mantelpiece of my childhood home bought by my father on his travels at sea. When I encountered it years later in a studio conversation with Affan Baghpati, the association was immediate. As was delight at what had replaced the head—blooming from the neck of a goddess was the pot of a surmedani (micro-bottle to keep eye salve or surma), a dazzling ambered stone made of acrylic dominating as a pendant.