மரபுகள் meaning “Traditions”
This is second personal project I completed during my second year of university, where I took inspiration from my previous project, ஒரு தீவிலிருந்து ஒரு நகரம் (A city away from an island). I was still curious to understand elements of traditions, history and heritage found in my previous work through possibly making props and elevating this further, by researching into key aspects that have impacted my cultural growth; aspects such as religion and history. To understand these broad words, I embarked on this journey into my parents lives as well as learning about my relationship with Hinduism. Something that I did by understanding Hinduism’s place within my family home – by interviewing and learning from my mum to photographing, drawing and learning online about the religious objects that we own. I felt drawn to the religious objects after visiting a nostalgic visit to my childhood temple and re-experience praying the way I did as a child. It left me to question why I had once distanced myself from this Tamil life style, especially religion, something that is crucial within the Tamil community in London as well as my upbringing . Something I have questioned for a few years, since creating a project on my parents' life in the war (2016-2017).
A project of high importance to me as this is where my question my heritage and how my parents past began. The war itself is of great historical significance, as the war has changed the life for Tamils in and out of Sri Lanka; learning from my parents about the irradiating of Tamils because who we are, left me to understand why my parents enforce the importance of religion and culture, as so much of it was already lost. However for me the war didn’t just leave a feeling of loss but of a new beginning, as life for me and sister would not have began without this war, as my parents would've stayed if the war hadn’t happened. Hearing such a phrase makes me rethink the environment I have grown up in and I've started to appreciate the rich traditions, rituals and religion itself that I'm surrounded by, through working on these recent projects (2019-2020).
Through out these various projects, I have always thought that I would come to a satisfying ending with each one, but the more the research I did, the more I started to question. Such as where does Hinduism situate for me, growing in a Tamil household in a westernised city, something that I investigate within this body of work.
Though this project itself is finished, I'm not sure when I will stop investigating the influence of Tamil culture and Hinduism in my creative process and work. I found that there is so much that I wanted learn and understand about my Sri Lankan culture and religion, especially after distancing myself from Hinduism during my teen years. I feel that there is this almost barrier between both sides of me - Londoner and Sri Lankan. However I feel the more I begin to understand, the more that barriers are knocked down.
Photography and concept by me ©