Foreign Returned explores South Asian identities across time and space, while offering a contemporary interpretation of iconography from 16th to 19th century Indian miniature paintings.
Acrylic on canvas
48 in. x 72 in.
Foreign Returned explores South Asian identities through time and space while, offering a contemporary interpretation of iconography from 16th to 19th century Indian miniature paintings.
Local Australian flora and fauna, an Indian tiffin, a Canadian passport, and a Komagata Maru pendant draw attention to experiences of transnational movement. These diasporic portraits question what is foreign and where is home.
The colloquial expression “foreign returned” has historically signified Indians travelling abroad and returning to India. In extending this phrase, the works explore the experiences of descendants of South Asian emigrants in their diasporic homelands of Canada, the USA, Australia, the African continent, the Caribbean or elsewhere.
The politics of naming are highlighted in these the works. Each figure has a “Shubh Naam” or, literally, “Good name” followed by a short Anglicized version in parenthesis. "Good name" refers to a person’s legal name. Whether through voluntary assimilation, social pressure or misnaming, each abbreviated title points to a larger story of the complexities of migration, identity and belonging.