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Suchitra Mattai

Artist 153

Suchitra Mattai

Diasporic Identity

Weaving Narratives

Suchitra Mattai is a South American artist who specializes in multi-disciplinary art. Her work addresses immigration, ethnicity, identity and borders.

Her diverse natural and cultural environments have greatly influenced her work and research. She questions the historical and authoritative narratives, especially those surrounding colonialism.

She weaves narratives of “the other,” invoking fractured landscapes and reclaiming cultural artifacts (often colonial and domestic in nature).

Mattai has intimately known the confusion that belonging to a diaspora can bring. Now, she gets to further that conversation in her work. "Art allows me to delve into some of the deeper issues surrounding immigration, migration, borders," Mattai said.

Mattai has spoken on her work, “My practice is characterized by a love of experimentation and learning. My current research project is inspired by stories of my ancestors’ passage from India to South America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Through material engagement with physical and virtual fragments—fractured furniture, fraying needlepoint textiles, video, etc.—my work revisits colonial histories.

I consider the colonial gaze, the gaze of the “other,” the vague memory of a past “home,” and my own family legacy of ocean voyages to foreign lands through contracts of bondage.

Much of my work is rooted in landscape. The places I create are born from memory, history, and imagination. The last three generations of my family have lived on three separate continents.

As a result, I connect to all of these diverse places, and in some way my landscapes provide a space for them all to coexist.

Ultimately, I seek to invent a sense of “home” (both mine and that of the indentured servant) through these materials. “Home” becomes a conceptual space for “belonging,” and as an American, Caribbean, South Asian from Latin America the processes of migration, assimilation, and belonging are at the heart of this exploration.”

Sources Consulted:…/artist-suchitra-mattai-encourages-th…/


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