Interpretation Nikhil Chopra
His performances employ various strategies of separating himself from others, the most extreme
being a vow of silence. He also sheds any remaining traits from his own personality.
In the performance The Death of Sir Raja III (2005), Chopra takes on the character Sir
Raja, whom the artist was inspired to create after researching late-nineteenth-century to early-
twentieth-century British photography of Indian aristocracy. Adorned with British regalia and
demonstrating the utmost proper British etiquette, Sir Raja epitomizes the proverbial English
Sahib. During the performance, Sir Raja lies silently still on rugs flanked by elaborate drapes, as
if he were posing for Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Vermeer, or Velasquez in an effort to depict his own
death. The performance took place on the fourth floor of Kitab Mahal, a British neo-gothic building
in the heart of Bombay’s Fort District, and there was no clear demarcation between the viewing
space and the performance, enabling viewers to come within inches of the action.