Mirror, mirror on the wall…


“Mirror, mirror on the wall; how beautifully tangled I am afterall!” Acrylics on mirror, 6″ diameter.

Saw last of the 3 part series of ‘Mixed Britannia’ on BBC 2 last night- loved it! Since my current works are based on identity, this documentary seemed like an extension of my works.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b015qms8/Mixed_Britannia_19101939/

Though there are no mixed race genes in me (Alas! I know my family tree 9 generations up but then who knows who my ancestor was before that!?), I can proudly say I have imbibed various cultures and their influences- starting from home where my family celebrated different religious festivals to living in Bombay where I had friends/roomies from ‘other’ Indian cultures, who spoke different languages to marrying into a family with a different culture altogether and having beautifully learnt to adapt (and cook some lovely family dishes!!). And now, living in a wonderful city like London, living in a country like Britain which is one of the most multicultural nations on this planet! 🙂

Mixed-race, mixed-religions, mixed-nationalities, mixed-cultures, mixed-castes (places like India where one may belong to the same religion but may belong to a different caste!!) … why the whole hullabaloo?? We live in a free and a beautiful world and one can choose where to live, who to marry, what religion to follow… never did and never will understand people who oppose it. I for one, am very proud of my mixed cultural (religion, food, language, country) identity.

I am reminded of the exhibition I visited recently at INIVA, ‘Entanglement: the Ambivalence of Identity’- an inter-generational exhibition of emerging artists alongside established figures reflecting on the complexities of living with more than one culture. Navin Rawanchaikul (Thai artist of  Indian origins, now resident of Japan) had displayed a handwritten letter to his daughter and he summed it up beautifully in a few simple words, “…This may sound strange to you but I know you are facing a similar experience to when I was young, friends poking fun at your foreign-sounding surname. Mari, let me repeat what my mom taught when I asked why we are not considered Thai. She said, ‘Just be yourself and proud of your roots’.”

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