Kalvin Chakkar 

My work explores themes of marriage, faith and culture. I projected my life and probable future into my practise. The theme of marriage is channelled from my inevitable, nearing future of an arranged marriage, popular within Indian cultures. There is also an association to India and the social problems there such as poverty which is represented through the use of litter, and gender inequality displayed by the disproportionate pieces and their position within the installation. The materials used were entirely plastic and waste, raising important issues on the environment, sustainability and recycling.

After initial experiments and trials to explore the potential of using heat to manipulate plastic, I began to produce developmental pieces which helped inform further refinement and ideas. The pieces were textured, warped and variated in thickness depending on how much plastic and heat was applied. There was an exploration of colour and a trial and error element to these pieces. Areas were either fused with heat or left to be light and airy – to move delicately in the air. Ultimately the purpose of these pieces was to help inspire a more ambitious, complex large-scale idea. After considerable brainstorming I developed an idea that addressed my culture and could accommodate the plastic fused work I had been producing. I was to make a traditional Indian male and female wedding outfit. This idea enabled me to incorporate my culture and heritage, my personal future and themes of sustainability and recycling through the plastic media.  



With these concepts in mind, I began the development of final Degree Show installation. I researched three key Indian patterns and a prominent Indian designer, Sabyasachi. This led to design development and finally the construction phase. During the construction I realised my work was lacking a contemporary feel and evolving into a commentary on fashion. Through research into Mary Tuma and Thomas Hirschhorn I decided to elongate both the pieces making them both metaphorically and literally monumental at around 8 feet tall. They then lost an ‘ordinariness’ and became something more symbolic and representational rather than just a commentary on traditional Indian fashion. I also began to explore ways I could intentionally create a social statement and decided to have the female piece decorative but shorter and twisted to mark the huge gender inequality in India. This is an important issue for me since I have seen this first hand in India and I was raised in a predominantly female household.

Once the pieces began to come together I decided to consider the setup of the installation. I looked at Anish Kapoor and Bherti Kher in order to understand how to present/curate my installation to achieve the best visual and engaging experience.  In order to connect the male and female pieces I decided to create a large circular reflective mural in the background. Situated behind them, this mural would be a physical symbol of divinity and the sacred bond between the male and female pieces. Together the installation has become a physical representation of a typical Indian marriage where there is evidence of culture and religion but also of social inequality and stereotypical gender roles.