Posts in Indian heritage
Identity, Representation and Art

Starting this brand was motivated by a number of factors, namely representation. Having experimented with numerous mediums and multiple concepts I wanted to concentrate on one core value, which was diversity. 

Flood fill colour on photoshop 

Flood fill colour on photoshop 

Previously I have written about race, my identity and growing up in a world where there were very limited faces and more importantly role models I could align myself with.  One minute I did not fit, the next I did. It has always been confusing, the notion of identity. 

The disconnection from Indian culture that is part of my mums heritage, lost through her adoption has always resonated with me. It has been a productive catalyst inspiring my creativity. 

Mark making with the brush tool in photoshop 

Mark making with the brush tool in photoshop 

Art allows for a platform, a voice to be heard through visual expression and communication. Experimenting with my favourite media - collage, mixed media and print making has been both therapeutic and exciting conceptually.

Whilst there have been a variety experiments with other concepts such as capitalism and consumerism inspired by The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, which I will write about at a later date. I knew I wanted to focus on this notion of diverse, identity representation and trying to create a space to express this. 

This led up lots and lots of different experiments before I had settled on the final design, which I had written about last week. Who knows if these will turn into something? 

Water colour painting that I started and stopped as I quite liked the combination between the black and white elements in stark contrast to the colour.

Water colour painting that I started and stopped as I quite liked the combination between the black and white elements in stark contrast to the colour.

The name of the original piece has always been called Abstract Asian, which is always close to my heart and will continue to be the most important imagery and is an avenue I wish to explore more. 

 

 

 

Identity, Representation and the Self - Myself

There are many miles stones in peoples lives that leave an impression, influences who you are, along with your upbringing and heritage. 

At a fancy dress party - theme? Old ladies?

At a fancy dress party - theme? Old ladies?

The confusion of mine (growing up with my mums duel heritage and adoption) coupled with going to university, meeting people from different ethnic backgrounds and moving to Tokyo and being submerged in a completely different culture, has helped me think about my identity and process many aspects of how I view myself. And still do. Which has played out in my art work. Art is therapy as they say, as unintentional as it has been. 

The exploration has helped and given me a space in which to experiment, not only my expressive side but what it means to me on an emotional level.

Identity and viewing representations of yourself within the world in which you grow up is so important. Hence the beginning of the clothing brand. A space to bring together many concepts. 

I love my expression in this photo, so many possible captions.  

I love my expression in this photo, so many possible captions.  

The truth is at this juncture in my life I do wonder if the questions I still have about my identity and how I self identify will ever be resolved. Will I ever be at one with myself? What I do know is that I am not going to press for any immediate answers but let various processes occur and see where this journey takes me.   

For the brand I envisage it becoming more streamlined with Indian identity and representation. I would like to explore this side more and meet women who are also Indian and from a similar background to myself, to hear and share their narrative. 

This would truly be about exploring representation and identity, which is an exciting avenue, open enough for the creative path to take which ever direction it chooses and in turn be played out though my art work and subsequently the brand. 

Back to Reality

Having spent two years in Japan, a county so rich in its cultural history and identity, it makes you ponder your own. 

Sadly my nan had passed when I was away so upon my return I wanted to reconnect with my granddad. I wanted to find out about their lives and their motivation for adopting children from three different ethnic backgrounds. 

My mum and my Aunty circa 1996.

My mum and my Aunty circa 1996.

We spoke of his travels, how he met my nan, the trials and tribulations they faced with him being English and her being German post Second World War. Despite the backlash they faced their love kept them together. He was a great story teller and I was enthralled by the details. And it brought us closer together. It helped me understand them as people not just as my grandparents. I liked the adult relationship we had as there is a certain type of honesty that comes from that. 

Despite their best intentions they faced a major hurdle where my nan had a horrendous accident that placed her in a coma for many months. She was pregnant too and lost the baby. Luckily she recovered but was never the same person, much to the distress of all in many different ways. 

Coupling this with the time era, there really was a lack of support for everyone on both an emotional and practical level. How does anyone educate children on their ethnic background with no insight themselves or education on the matter? 

Unfortunately I have no photos of my Granddad at the moment so I thought I’d post lovely pictures of my mum

Unfortunately I have no photos of my Granddad at the moment so I thought I’d post lovely pictures of my mum

Sadly this created a void for everyone so much so that even my mum did not tell me about the adoption. My Granddad did when we were on holiday in Great Yarmouth. I remember feeling so confused particularly as the information was just delivered matter of factly with no emotion to  buffer the blow. A sign of that generation I believe. Deal with it. I was eleven at the time I think. The feeling of shock is still with me as if it was yesterday. 

And then of course there were lots of questions I wanted answering. What does this mean? Who are you? Who are we? Oh we are not related, none of us are? This is so confusing. 

But because my mum had never told me I didn’t want to ask her as I felt her shame. Shame of being from a different background. I recall her saying things like

“I wish I wasn’t one of them”,

referring to Indian women as we drove through Leicester and my Granddad placing his hand over hers and responding with “I know”. Lots of comments hinting towards her shame began to resurface. How could I bring it up? 

Lovely photo of my mum 

Lovely photo of my mum 

Such a shame literally. As there has never been celebration towards her cultural heritage, allowing her to embody that element, understand it and embrace it. Instead it was the complete opposite, bury it, lift up the rug and sweep it under. Let’s ignore it. Let’s pretend that element of your identity does not exist. 

But that was not going to be a deterrent for me.