Got this link passed along to me, and it's so weird and wonderful, I had to share... Artist, activist, friend to the blog (and former Angry Reader of the Week) Anida Yoeu Ali is exploring her cultural and spiritual identity by dressing up as a giant orange bug. Whaaaa? Seriously. A really big bug. And it's pretty awesome.
Artist Dresses Up As A Giant Orange Bug To Explore Her Cambodian Heritage
The Buddhist Bug Project, created with with photographer Masahiro Sugano and Phnom Penh-based Studio Revolt, is rooted in an autobiographical exploration of identity, and Anida's own spiritual turmoil between Islam and Buddhism. Set amongst everyday people in ordinary moments, the Bug "provokes obvious questions of belonging and displacement."
At the very least, you'll get a kick out of seeing this enormously strange orange creature -- the costumes coils can expand to nearly 100 feet -- just chillin' in the most mundane settings. Here's Anida's artist statement:
The BBug is a creation inspired by two reasons (1) my personal inability to reconcile my fascination with Buddhism alongside my upbringing as a Khmer Muslim woman and (2) an attempt to capture a quickly changing Cambodian urban and rural landscape. The project is a culmination of my thematic interest in hybridity, transcendence, and otherness. Through an interdisciplinary approach, my work maps new political and spiritual landscapes. Meters and meters of textile act as skin, as a way for the surface of my body to extend into public spaces, and as a metaphoric device for stories to spread across an expanse.And here are more photos:
For me, the BBug is created from a sense of play and curiosity. S/he is a displaced creature destined to travel and wander amidst the “in-between”. This space, which exists between who s/he is and where s/he is, is in fact a powerful place for encounter, habitation and reinvention. The BBug is created as an assertion of paradoxes, a result of a hybrid refugee experience, embodying the fluctuating inside/outside perspective of the transnational being. S/he longs for stillness while on a constant journey. S/he is a source for refuge while on a perpetual search for home. S/he is both a bridge and obstacle. S/he is a creature belonging in this world yet appearing to be from another universe.
At the heart of my work is an interest in developing stories, usually narratives that exist outside of conventions. The Buddhist Bug Project continues a methodology in which personal narratives shape my art. I believe performing narratives is an act of social engagement that contributes to collective healing. For me, performance and storytelling become ways of bridging the interior and exterior space of self as well as initiate critical dialogues between communities and institutions. My interdisciplinary works attempt to find crucial intersections between performing narratives and audience engagement.
More here: The Buddhist Bug Project