Misfit

performance piece captured on video 2021

Divya has been exploring border zones as a way of being a diasporic subject. In her context there was a kind of reverse process which meant she had to prove her being part of the Tamil diaspora in the UK by mastering her own mother tongue and speaking it well. This still is challenging because for her, 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 her look at her own heritage and origins like an outsider.

This is a one-minute performance piece captured on video of her painting the cross with red paint on her body across 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 her research on linguistics, she 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 her attempts to capture the rhythms of Tamil while surrendering to the inevitable filter of English in her learning process.

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