Sweet Ache

An artist tests the limits of consumption

01 May 2012
Zachary Becker, his hands on his knees, is set to swallow an airborne gulab jamun thrown by Shakeb at Delhi’s Ojas Art Gallery.
FIROZ KHAN FOR THE CARAVAN
Zachary Becker, his hands on his knees, is set to swallow an airborne gulab jamun thrown by Shakeb at Delhi’s Ojas Art Gallery.
FIROZ KHAN FOR THE CARAVAN

ON A RECENT FRIDAY EVENING, Zachary Becker sat statue-like in a grey T-shirt, his mouth coated in sugary syrup. Flanked by framed prints of two large photographs hanging in Delhi’s Ojas Art Gallery, one of a spotlit barfi and the other of a single gulab jamun, Becker could have been mistaken for a piece of art himself—which was not far from the truth.

Nearly 12 feet in front of him, behind an elegant white podium, stood Shakeb, a meticulously dressed young man, holding a steel bowl filled with gulab jamuns.

“Would you like to sweeten the artist’s mouth?” Shakeb asked onlookers. Gallery attendees approached in ones and twos, but many moments passed when no one but Shakeb was watching—or feeding—the artist. Instead, the crowd stood outside cradling wine glasses beneath a huge banyan tree, surrounded by a fleet off vintage Mercedes.

Mehboob Jeelani  is a former staff writer at The Caravan. He is currently studying for an MA in journalism at Columbia University.

Keywords: Delhi performance art Zachary Becker gulab jamun Ojas Art Gallery
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