My personal experiences in riot torn Mumbai in 1992 led me to investigate the role violence plays in the global struggle for Power, Agency, Policy (making) and Domination on individuals, communities and on geographic fronts.
In researching the issues of martyrdom, heroism, sacrifice, fundamentalism, justice, militancy, and political leadership I encountered the writings of thinkers such as Slavoj Zizek. I realized I had to examine violence as well as desire with all its manifest variations and complications. I was greatly interested in artists such as Hieronymous Bosch, Paula Rego, and Leon Golub, as well as Tantric imagery and was faced with the challenge of creating a visual language that could bring together the philosophies and art practices of Tantra and contemporary social theorists.
But no research is complete until one explores the dualities and dichotomies within the field. The Desire for violent acts rests on deep set perversions of phantasy. We know that perversion is inverted fantasy and that idealism or truths or belief systems can be twisted to serve whatever purpose one deems fit.(Slavoj Zizek in How to Read Lacan) My characters therefore are found floating on precarious edges of desire. They are symbolic of the distortions that exist within the realms of desire.
Within my work, which is rich with metaphors and derived from contemporary politics I allow myself to enter complex worlds of philosophies and fantasies as I examine the classic themes of desire, conflict, struggle, and transcendence.
My figures exist undeterred in abundant, primordial and potent fields of space. They oscillate between the ambivalent edges of insatiable desire and aversion, between wisdom, insanity and catastrophe, between monumentality and sacrifice, and between passion and destruction. They experience and exist within suspense-filled public/private spaces and are often armed with the indefatigable resilience of the human spirit, safe in the knowledge that there exist powerful possibilities between the illusions of wisdom and phantasmagoria. The lines continue to remain simple.
— Amita Bhatt