>home >portfolio

Ambedkar Park & Marlene Pavilion

Video and Installation at Gallery Aspace, Toronto
February 13 to March 13, 2009

1 Ambedkar Park
Lucknow, India, 2003

Dr. B R Ambedkar, one of the authors of the Indian constitution, was born an “untouchable” and fought all his life against social discrimination. Following his death, Ambedkar became an icon of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), who after winning the state election in Uttar Pradesh created a massive memorial in his name in Lucknow.* Though criticized for wasting the sparse finances of India’s most populous state on the propagandistic monument, the BSP continues construction at the site, and a public sports complex was demolished in 2008 to expand the premises. Drums and flute accompany the construction work.

* The park will boast two fountains and an elephant court, which will house sixty red sandstone elephants. Additionally, ten marble elephants are being carved at the main dome and gates.

2 Marlene Pavilion
Whale Cay, Bahamas, 1939

The original Marlene pavilion or ”doll house” was constructed by Joe Carstairs on her island Whale Cay in the Bahamas for her lover and friend Marlene Dietrich.** In the Twenties, Carstairs was celebrated as the fastest woman on water – Britain’s premier speedboat-racer and world-record holder in the one-and-a-half
litre class. By 1934, however, she withdrew herself into isolation. With several millions inherited from her American mother, she bought the island Whale Cay in the outer Bahamas and ruled over it for the next forty years, apparently in an imperialist manner. As it has fallen into disrepair, this is a proposal for the renovation of Marlene Pavilion.

** Daughter and biographer Maria Riva recalls the moment when Marlene first lay eyes on Joe: “My mother touched Remarque’s arm. `Boni – isn’t he beautiful? He must be coming here for lunch. Who is he?´ She watched him being rowed ashore. Dressed in skin-tight ducks and striped sailor’s jersey, he climbed the steps leading up to the Eden Roc and turned from a sexy boy into a sexy woman.”

>home >portfolio