"Can you draw me a circle?" A circle. Yes. Round… At this point I would draw something in the air that suggested a circle.
When I asked this question on the streets of India, most thought I was strange. Some didn’t say anything, others laughed with friends, a few outright refused. However, most did, at some point put pen to paper and draw, and I’m very glad they did. I asked families, labourers, shop owners, street cleaners, hotel managers, gurus, toilet money collectors, anyone that would listen and even the ones who didn’t. I never tried to explain why and they never really asked. I collected over 70 circles for the project and I continued to collect even after it was over.
When the project was exhibited in Sydney, I invited the attendants to draw their circle. I printed out the circles from India and provided blank paper for the audience to do the same. The idea was to swap the circles, any circle. Perhaps you took home your friends circle or Mary's from Fort Cochin. How were you to know?
During my final days in India, I discovered I couldn’t find my book of circles. My friend who owned the cafe upstairs warned me monkeys were known to enter through the broken windows and wander around. Having exhausted all other possibilities to find the book I came to the conclusion the monkeys had of course taken it. I always hoped it would stay in India, somehow. I like to think they took it to the roof top, ripped it into a million pieces and blew it all across the land.