Nibha Akireddy, Bha:भ, 12” x 12”, oil on wood panel, 2020
This piece started a journal of the month of April, a month in quarantine as I took online classes at home. It was inspired by the countless hours I spent on Zoom in my old high school bedroom, brushing my teeth in our old bathroom again, cohabitating with the cockroaches in my family’s garage/my temporary converted painting studio. But this piece took on a new meaning when, this Spring, for the first time in maybe six years, I had an Indian professor who pronounced my name correctly, with the full depth of the breathy bha in Nibha, shown by the bha (भ) letter. I guess this painting turned into a chronicle of my relationship with my name and learning how to pronounce it correctly myself. I still can’t say it like my mother does, with the confident knowledge of the Hindi alphabet that I lack, but at least I can stop using a fake name when I make dinner reservations.