The Shape of Identity. Tufted acrylic wool on found scrim fabric 130 x 300 cms,
Neulinge Exhibition Homeground
ArtChowk Gallery, Karachi, 2022
Home for me, is a state of mind. It has to be. I left my childhood home as a student at eighteen and have never really looked back. Having moved around as often as I have within India and outside, the idea of home is in a constant state of flux. Being a multinational citizen living outside of my ‘home’ country brings with it a unique kind of homelessness. My world has widened, so has my concept of home. The things that we normally associate with home, a house, a street, a suburb or a country, may not resonate for me as much as a collection of specific deja vu moments that make me feel like I am home: Stepping out of the door to hit a wall of heat on a hot midsummer’s day, Facebooking with my mum, rewatching Friends with my daughter and now recently…learning my mother tongue Tamil. Watching its script come alive felt like it had opened a portal in my mind. A channel to a deep past and its ancestors that may have been but are now lost forever.
My tufted piece for the “Home Ground” exhibition is called ‘The shape of Identity’. This work is about place-making and imagining. It is about a place that once (might have) existed, but no more. No one involved in its making has ever seen it, much less lived there, and likely they never will. Its primary identity is in the place-making labour. It is also a work about loss. I am interested in the preoccupation with loss as it manifests itself in the fascination with vanished homelands, hidden civilizations, and forgotten peoples and their ignored pasts. How does one remember a lost place? What trajectories does imagining take to summon into existence a world that is no longer available. Under what circumstances does the past return to haunt the present as the vanished, the submerged, and the hidden? Are we not always already losing the past?
My Place-world has been brought into existence through my tapestry as way of constructing the past, a way of weaving fictional social traditions and, in the process, reinventing personal and social identities.
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