I was able to finish the Photoshop mashup piece as well as an interactive clickthrough prototype of how the gallery would work for my presentation at the last class. Here is the remixed take on American Gothic
This was definitely an exercise in restraint; I wanted to exaggerate the appropriation of Indian culture but still present something that was aesthetically pleasing. I also decided to showcase different parts of India with each piece in the gallery; this one in particular shows off the different pieces of Rajasthan.
What's funny is that I've only ever seen this piece parodied with wives and husbands, so I assumed the original was the same; it turns out it's the farmer's spinster daughter in the portrait. In this scenario she's married, but still... note to self, do my research more carefully!
I got some great feedback in class, but the question was posed about what the line between respect and appropriation is. The example was that the questioner would be excited to see people at ITP wearing clothing from her culture. I agree with that as well, I think educating people on one's own culture is great. I have friends who love Indian food, clothing, and so much more, but they make it a point to ask me about where it comes from and what it means. That's why I felt that having the educational piece of the gallery was necessary - that's what leads to more understanding across cultures and stops cultural appropriation, which uses without understanding the context of the objects being used.
Another piece of interesting feedback was recreating the piece as a physical object - it was suggested that I could make canvas reproductions of the piece and then layout the fabrics and items on top. I really like that idea as a lot of museum-type pieces don't allow for touch, but the textures and fabrics here almost beg for tactile interaction.
As much as I struggled with Photoshop (I will definitely be sticking to Illustrator!), I had a great time with this piece. It forced me to reflect on my views on my culture as well as cultural appropriation, and maybe someday I'll continue on with this project. I hope to!