You Will Not Define Me / by Anjal Chande

Anjal Chande Bernal Heights

My work need not be defined. If one defines it, one defies it. My work won't sit so neatly inside the frame you've allotted for it. It won't acquiesce to the tiny confines of your stale imagination. I will not be defined by you. 

The impulses of a society so keen on labeling, categorizing, simplifying the inevitably complex is not what I wish to subject myself to if I can help it. It is difficult to help it, but I try. 

It is imperative for me to know my art as I wish to know it, as an expression of something so peculiar to and dependent on my me-ness. My work, my voice, my vision is something you cannot take away from me, nor is its worth something you grant me. 

To believe this means to resist the imposition of others' perspectives; to resist others’ subconscious and conscious, unspoken and outspoken, reactions as something I must wear as a badge of audience validation. I do not need you to embrace my work for it to be what I mean it to be. I rely not on your acknowledgment or approval.

In whatever I do, I am simply trying to be myself. My work is trying to be itself. Let it, let us, be. Without the agony of trying to escape your nail that wants so badly to pin us down to one static interpretation. 

Is my work political or apolitical? Secular or spiritual? Traditional or contemporary? Ethnic or American? Raw or polished? Is it succeeding at what it is trying to do? You need not know, and it does not matter. Why try to discern so cerebrally?

I invite you to experience my work viscerally. For a moment, engage with your heart, not your head. And then, whatever experience comes forth becomes uniquely yours to hold onto. I welcome your engagement, your interaction, your pondering, your response. Yet, what you take away is yours; you will not define me. 


"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson