Being Brown. / Lost In Translation.

When we were told that we were allowed to pick whatever we wanted for our personal project I immediately knew I had to link it back to my identity.

Being brown is something I started taking pride in, or even noticed as a part of my identity, after my move to Great Britain. When you’re in a city surrounded by people from different races, skin shades, backgrounds, countries and overall different cultures, you tend to use your culture as a part of your identity simply because, it’s all you know.

I wanted to explore being brown (Desi) while living in the 21st century. There is a lot of literature out there that discusses how English is a colonised language. The british ruled india for a really long time and left us with a lot of their culture but mainly left us with this estranged language that we treat like royalty.
A poem by Sujata Bhatt talksabout how the new generation has grown to love this “opressor’s tongue”.

Diksha Bijlani is a spoken word poet who recently put up a piece where she tallks about how speaking english is the verbal way of saying you own a mercedes and how her mum doesnt understand the language that she writes or thinks in.
My own father isnt fluent in English and it got me wondering about how there are some ideas I will never be able to convey to him perfectly cause I don’t know the non english words for it.
Growing up in India, you tend to be atleast bilingual, or if you’re like me, speak 4 languages.

So my mind doesnt only work in English but it works in a combination of Hindi and English and I don’t know if I can ever do justice to any language, enough.
Whilst exploring this theme I have also decided to look at different ways Indians represent themselves in the western world, externally.

So the fashion and make up we have inherited from our culture and how we, in subtle ways, tribute them.The theme for my project is “Lost In Translation”. I havent come up with how I want to portray this visually just yet, but I’m working on taking pictures, record and experiment as well as refer to some artists who depict this idea via art, such as Maria Qamar and Babbu The Painter.

I hope to have multiple outcomes that look at different mediums and themes under this and what could happen in the future.
Will we finally have a language we dont feel alienated from?
Will we take pride in our own skin?Will we see this side of ourselves in mainstream media?
Will I ever be okay with the fact that I think in a language my dad doesn’t completely relate to, or understand?Will I ever feel Indian to my core? Or will I always be stranded feeling a little white washed?