Misfit

performance piece captured on video 2021

I have been exploring border zones as this way of being a diasporic subject. In my context there was a kind of reverse process which meant I had to prove my being part of the Tamil diaspora in the UK by mastering my own mother tongue and speaking it well. This still is challenging because for me, it’s the layer of a ‘version’ of English language and thought and culture through literature, popular culture that is always present like a filter that makes me look at my own heritage and origins like an outsider.

This is a one-minute performance piece captured on video of me painting the cross with red paint on my body across my face. It is to show that the idea of the colonial enterprise was to ‘mark’ the subjects in some way that altered how they saw themselves and their identity in the world. In my research on linguistics, I learnt that children learn fastest through mimesis, that is through mime and gestures and understanding the rhythm of the language to express themselves before really learning the formal vocabulary of the language. The claps in the video are my attempts to capture the rhythms of Tamil while surrendering to the inevitable filter of English in my learning process.

It has resonated even more with controversies regarding racism in English football.