Student Work

  • Fine Arts (MFA)

    Patience Rustomji

    Troy Towers, 40, Conger Street

    Title: Troy Towers, 40, Conger StreetMedia: Installation, Cooking oils, spices, Mulmul cloth, found objects, glass, Dimensions variable, 2015This series of discarded, mundane, everyday objects is collected from the basement and trash of the building in which I live in New Jersey. They represent the absent community with which I live. The facade of urban residential buildings offers a false promise of community on the outside, but reveals failure and alienation on the inside. Through the cultural process of pickling in various cooking oils and spices from my mother’s kitchen, the aforementioned objects are brought into an eternal present and remain as a personal archive of desire, longing, and fantasy. The straining cloths on the pickle jars are vests worn under ones clothes by members of the disintegrating Zoroastrian community in which I grew up. With time, the cloths age, fray, and discolor. Every Zoroastrian will then find ways to repurpose them. My mother reused them as straining cloths. In this body of work, they are used in a similar way and are cut or torn directly from parts of the body like the neck, shoulders and armholes. They represent the loss of a body, a person, a member of the community. They are metaphors for longing and preservation, begging urgently for an extended life.This work stems from my sense of urgency for preservation of the Zoroastrian community, which is on the brink of extinction. My practice conflates polar desires for preservation and longing with disintegration and absence.