A sari is a South Asian form of dress: approximately six to eight yards of fabric elaborately folded and draped on the body. Styles of draping are often described by the geographic regions they are said to have originated in. However, the folds and form of the sari depend solely on the shape of the wearer’s body and the style she wishes to wear that day. The sari is meaningful as identity-marker only when worn on the body – once removed, it returns to abstract formlessness.
Using a six-yard length of fabric, this piece explores the arbitrary nature of identity by pedantically mapping different kinds of information produced by the draped sari. It maps the folds of three different sari drapes (Nivi, Osariya, and Gujarati), and marks the precise placement of the fabric on a mannequin’s body. It includes instructions for how to wear the sari, depending on which identity the wearer wishes to take on for the day. Patterns emerge based on zones of ‘difference’ + ‘dialogue’ between folds and on how the sari maps to the wearer’s body. The piece performs its imaginary function as wearable atlas for the culturally displaced South Asian.
Ultimately, the borders and boundaries marked on the fabric are both deceptive and irrational. You can never really wear a sari the same way twice.