Semblance by Rahul Iyer
sem·blance (noun) – outward and often specious appearance or show. Semblance explores experiences of the self as sculpted by context. At times, one can experience their private, most expansive self as their true self. In other moments, a performative cutout is needed to conform to one’s environment. Through its various manifestations, the work dwells on the tension between displaying the private self as a form of liberation, and amplifying the performative self as a form of suppression. The collection draws inspiration from my childhood as an Indian-American growing up in Atlanta, where I felt pressure to conform to the cultural norms and expectations of those around me. This nurtured conflicting perceptions of my public and private identify – a dilemma depicted in Semblance through a reimagination of the weavings and textiles from my childhood home. Each Semblance is a unique blend of color, diffusion, and environment. Its appearance is shaped by the suppression of a distinct focal point that dictates its context. Ultimately, the viewer is invited to toggle between the two states and explore that tension within themselves.