Princess Pea gets curious looks wherever she goes, be it to the beach in the morning, to school full of kids or working with craftspeople in her studio.
Much of it has to do with how she looks. The petite 35-year-old artist wears an oversized mask that gives her the head of a noseless, doe-eyed, green-haired homegrown cartoon. Photos from her interactions were posted on Instagram in 2011, went viral, and now she is set to visit Mumbai for the first time ever, with an art show titled Sunrise Ceremonies.
“For me these visits are a day-to-day endeavour, which become the performative aspect of my character and an interesting visual diary,” says the Gurgaon-based artist who prefers to use the name of her character, Princess Pea.
She made a sculpture based on herself and her alter ego at the India Art Fair in 2009. The work commented on the remarks people made about her skinny frame, her skin colour and hair – judgements that she and her sister would always question.
Princess Pea raises questions on women’s identity, and the narrow definition of beauty in society and the fashion and beauty industry.
“Many viewers have wanted me to let them wear the mask. I couldn’t because it’s a performance, a work of art,” she says. “Also, it’s not easy to wear and walk around. You’re almost blind, inside it.”
You can get into Princess Pea’s head in another way, by entering a six-feet-tall installation, designed like her mask. Inside, viewers can sitting on one side and Princess Pea on another. “They won’t see me, just hear me talking in soft whispers.”
The work attempts to explore the ideas of ASMR meditation (autonomous sensory meridian response). “It’s a euphoric experience that makes you feel sensations on the skin while listening to something, and also touches your spine,” says Princess Pea.
WHAT: Sunrise Ceremonies by Princess Pea
WHERE: Sakshi Gallery, 6/19, Grants Building, Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba
WHEN: January 20 to February 23. (Performance will continue until January 25)
ENTRY IS FREE