Lotah Stories, 2004- ongoing
Lotahs are containers that can be filled with water and used to clean oneself after using the toilet. They are frequently used in Muslim and South Asian homes; however, once Lotah-users find themselves in public spaces that mostly do not practice Lotah-use, they are forced to make the transition from lotahs to toilet paper. Many don’t, and find themselves living double lives, using lotahs-in-disguise. Lotah Stories is an irreverent, humorous and insightful look into issues of cleanliness and assimilation.
Lotah Stories was a site-specific installation, first shown in the exhibit “Fatal Love: South Asian American Art Now” at the Queens Museum of Art (Feb 27-June 5, 2005). For the installation, invited community members decorated 100 lotahs with labels from water bottles, soda bottles or any other containers that are used as lotahs-in-disguise. There was also an audio loop of anonymous and identified lotah users sharing their embarrassing, funny, and shameful lotah stories.
I have been amazed by the depth of people’s shame and the lengths that they have gone to hide their lotahs-in-disguise, from co-workers, roommates, even live-in-boyfriends.
Audio to come soon....