The Subtlety of Subterfuge

Art and Text : Sawani Kumar


Any art form is implicit in its nature of being perceived differently by a different set of eyes. The Subtlety of Subterfuge is an installation trying to revel in that truth. The best way for me to think about this piece would be this: That I've sown a handful of seeds, not knowing exactly what they are.

Eventually, what the plant turns out to be and how it grows depends solely on who's nurturing it.
Constituted of miniature paintings made on matchboxes, The Subtlety of Subterfuge invites you to find and narrate your own story— the possibilities here are endless, and none of the answers are wrong. It is loosely inspired by the secrets we keep, the bodies we have, the insecurities we nurture, the guilty pleasures we hide, and the many things we do alone in the dark, alone in our heads, with our lovers, or for our friends.

I invite you, dear reader, to name the characters you see here (or you can use my names to engage with them— Eloise & Brenda, or their desi alter-egos Shakuntala & Satyajit).

TLJ welcomes your interpretations and stories of Eloise & Brenda/ Shankuntala & Satyajit. Send us your short stories about them on reachus(at)thelookoutjournal(dot)com


Sawani Kumar is a communication design graduate who's in the midst of an unwarranted gap year. For now, she's trying to find a little meaning in solitude, in rubbish, in moments, before it all ends up in a trash can. You'll find her trying to do this on garbage bags, used muslin, matchboxes, medicine tubes & unclaimed paper.