Photomontages

 

 

 

 

This work tells the story of the journey from my youthful dreams of India, to the more complex reality of my relationship with the real place. My father emigrated as a young man, married my English mother, and moved us to the United States when I was an infant. He died, sharing little with me about his origins in India.

I grew up in the United States, isolated from Indian culture, save for imaginative fantasy about the land of my ancestry, ripened by exoticized Western media accounts that did nothing to prepare me for India’s masala mix of misery and beauty on finally encountering it for myself.

As a child of mixed British and Indian heritage, I emerged from post-colonial battles playing themselves out on a domestic scale. A rootless foreigner in America, I have reflected my experience in life through a lens as a way to understand the cultural landscapethrough which I’ve traveled. As a foreigner with deep generations of blood roots, I experience India the same way, recording a vast archive of photographic imagery on my journeys.

Using this archive as source, I collage images from different times and places, juxtaposing ancient and modern, mythical and real, lived and imagined. In this constructed world, Hindu deities torn from spiritual contemplation in the sylvan glades of a glossy halftone paradise awkwardly stalk the capitalist hurly-burly of contemporary India, competing for space with new gods of Western materialism, Bollywood demigods, and the striving masses on the streets. The fractured reality brought together in these images embodies the dislocation of my own migration. In this world, the indigestion of anxious dreams searching for a home long lost in my Father’s dark past collapse into the Westward yearning dreams of the India to which I have awakened.