After producing my first project and finding links to identity that I could relate to, I wanted to explore who I am and what makes me, me. I wanted to explore into my life and identity, to see how I feel living in the world today. As life changes, opinions and feelings change, and I wanted to document and explore what I feel as a British-Indian.
To begin with, I researched Sikh history in England, and my own family history to see what their lives were like in a different culture. I thought about ways to explore this area, but I found it was not reflecting as much of how I feel living as a multi-cultural woman today. I then looked into the affect of Indian culture In Coventry. I photographed a main area for Indian shops and businesses. However, I still wasn’t fully connecting to the project. I looked at Sunil Shah’s work and other artists, and drew inspiration to create a project based entirely on me. I was advised to use self-portraiture, which appealed to me, as I have never done it before.
Inspired by artists such as Elina Brotherus, for example, I was able to begin my self-portrait exploration into my identity of being a British-Indian woman. Using self-portraiture I felt could reflect aspects of my life to others to reflect the disposition I feel between the two cultures and worlds.
I travelled to India in March making images there wearing English clothes. I wanted to show the element of one culture seeping through into the other, to show the feeling of displacement I feel when in each place. I consider both places my home, but I’m never fully satisfied and content in either. I feel like I am never truly accepted, no matter how hard I may try to fit in. Clothing is a huge part of outward identity, and it can reflect who you are to people. Wearing opposite cultural clothes in each place reflects the dissonance I feel between the two, showing no matter how hard I try to fit in I’ll always feel a connection to the other place. I based my project in a domestic household situation showing subtle differences and similarities in each place and lifestyle, allowing the audience to pick up on the clues within the images of the two different cultures, and my two different lives.
When deciding on presentation, I wanted to originally have a book with the UK image alongside the corresponding photo in India. I thought about methods to merge the two together to show the duality of my life and the flipping between the two cultures. I had the idea of holograms, combining two images to make one, yet still being individually intact. I researched lenticular images, I found printing to be a very difficult task but found a printing company, so that the final outcome would be slick and smooth merging transitions between the two images.