“The Curry Bunch”: A Semiotic Exploration

Basnet, Lavanya
Neill, Lindsay
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Master of Gastronomy
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Auckland University of Technology

Art takes many forms and is understood by different people in different ways. Within these understandings, art, in the case of my dissertation, incorporates the semiotic analysis of two oil-on-canvas images of Mikebhai Bradybhai and Carolben Bradybhai by Bepen Bahana. My semiotic analysis maximises the positions of Barthes and his emphasis on ideology (myths and archetype), cognisant of the work of Jung. That theoretical base is complemented by my own ontologies and epistemologies as an Indian international student studying in Aotearoa New Zealand. Consequently, I realise Mikebhai Bradybhai and Carolben Bradybhai in metaphorical ways and within multiple layers of meaning and semiosis that focus on tracing the images of Mikebhai Bradybhai and Carolben Bradybhai particularly within Indian myth and archetype. However, the Mikebhai Bradybhai and Carolben Bradybhai images convey the symbols and signs of two distinct nations: The United States of America, and the Indian sub-continent. Within that merger are historically embedded notions of the British Raj, colonialism, and imperialism that I suggest hold relevance today within a revised version of imperialism: American imperialism. Underpinning that assertion, my dissertation begins its exploration of the images of Mikebhai Bradybhai and Carolben Bradybhai within considerations of denotation and connotation. The former provides an agreed meaning, while the latter extended my analysis, tracing my images in binary ways through both Eastern mythologies and archetypes. In these ways, connotation provides the gateway to my exploration of the underpinning myth and archetypes that I believe are conveyed within the images of Mikebhai Bradybhai and Carolben Bradybhai. Yet, within my exploration of Eastern themes of myth and archetype, my work reflects the wider considerations of Jung in as much as my analysis reveals the similarities between cultures. Consequently, I am reminded that within change, similarities of meaning, interpretation, and history are perceived. In this way my work subscribes to the Jungian consideration that myth and archetypes are pan-cultural constructs.

Gastronomy , Semiotics , Art , Curry
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