Ziggy Stardust and the Beauty of Reinvention


On 10 January 2016, the world lost a trailblazer, a pioneer musician and an artist unlike any other, David Bowie. After battling with cancer for 18 months, he succumbed to the disease at the age of 69. As the news broke out, his heartbroken fans reacted in every possible way they could. Many organised impromptu tribute concerts, several lit candles to remember him and some others used the written word to express their sense of loss, much like I am doing today.

Since I found out about his death, I have heard Space Oddity, Starman, Changes, Heroes and Ashes to Ashes on repeat. Each song is stylistically different from the next, and it is sometimes hard to believe that they have all come from the mind of one man. One of the things that made Bowie so legendary was the fact that he was constantly reinventing himself. From a red haired Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane to the extraterrestrial being The Thin White Duke, Bowie was like a chameleon, immersing himself completely into character, yet having no trouble transitioning into the next one. And he did not just limit himself to music… he also acted in many unforgettable movies. And now he is gone, leaving behind a David Bowie shaped void.

But it makes me question can we, through our own means, try and fill that void? Can we embrace unpredictability, aim to inspire and shock and make the viewer feel a myriad of emotions every time we create an image? Can we open our minds to the limitless possibilities of image-making? Can we so passionately pursue a certain aesthetic and let it go instantly at the prospect of finding something new to create, without any regrets and with just as much enthusiasm? “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring,” said Bowie, and I’d like to think of him somewhere in space, shining bright.

Tags: David Bowie, February 2016, Starman, Supriya Joshi, Ziggy Stardust