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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Artist Statement

I believe we are free when we are not bound by history, place or ideology. However, this freedom happens within. No oppressor can really take one’s freedom away, even if physically bound. In this painting, I want to respond to the concept of freedom by exploring ideas of childhood fantasy and monument. As children we play games where we ask who is the hero? who needs saving? I have been thinking about the recent events in the U.S. where monuments are toppled. These monuments were both created and destroyed in the name of freedom; something that is instilled in us from a young age. The dilemma of whether or not to preserve or erase these histories is called into question. Our sense of collective time and memory are edified by these symbols in both their destruction and creation. I believe knowing our history will allow us to be free from it.

Artist Bio

Priya Nadkarni Green (b. 1986) is an artist whose oil paintings explore the entanglement of the East and West, the Far and Near, the Then and Now. She received a BFA from Rutgers University and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Green has shown her work internationally at spaces including the Jersey City Museum, Cuchifritos Gallery, Zimmerli Art Museum, and the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. She is a recipient of the international Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant as well as a fellowship from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Green lives and works in Springfield, MA.


Hero (Héroe) óleo sobre lienzo; 2020.
Creo que somos libres cuando ninguna historia, entorno o ideología nos lo impide. Sin embargo, esta libertad se desarrolla internamente. Así se ate de un cuerpo, ningún opresor puede, en realidad, quitar la libertad. En este cuadro, quiero responder al concepto de la libertad explorando ideas de la niñez y la edificación de monumentos. Durante la infancia, al jugar nos preguntamos: ¿quién es el héroe?, ¿A quién tenemos que rescatar? He pensado en los acontecimientos recientes en los EE.UU. donde se han derribado monumentos. Estos monumentos se crearon y destruyeron en nombre de la libertad; un valor inculcado desde la infancia. Está la duda por preservar o borrar esa historia. Son símbolos que, tanto en su destrucción como en su creación, construyen nuestro sentido de tiempo y memoria colectiva. Creo que saber nuestra historia es lo que nos liberará de ella.

Priya Green's painting, "Hero". A figure on a horse rearing up painted in varying shade of purple and blue. Random dark blue rectangles scattered around the painting highlight various parts of the figure and horse. A white building is vaguely visible in the background.

Hero, 2020
Oil on canvas

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