POCC X Clear Channel UK
வீடு & பாரம்பரியம் (means home & heritage) by Mathushaa Sagthidas, Lambeth Palace Road
POCC also known as People of Culture Collective collaborated with Clear Channel UK to develop an art fund championing under-represented creatives. From 22nd March to 28th March 2021, I had the amazing opportunity to take part in an out-of-home campaign, along with eight other incredible artists to show my work across various billboards across the UK. POCC aim was to highlight under-represented artists and they truly have achieved this so far. However the most remarkable aspect of this opportunity was sharing an unexpected photo of my work. Seeing my family especially my Amma get excited about, not only seeing a photo of us together up on billboard, but being able see and read Tamil writing on a UK billboard and really representing the south Asian community - especially the Tamil community is an indescribable feeling. Before the COVID pandemic I hadn't even considered doing self portraits, let alone doing shoots with my Amma (means mum in Tamil). My collaborative work and processes always involved working with so many talented south Asian women - ranging from models, stylists to make up artists and designers. With COVID and still being in my final year, I had no choice but to adapt and find new ways to stay creative; which led me exploring still life photography, self portraits and shoots with my Amma.
Shoots with my Amma was something that I had been thinking about doing for a while from time to time, but when Burnti Roti Magazine were looking for submissions relating to how artists have managed to stay creative over lockdown through their #BurntRotiFamilyLockdown; I just had a f*ck it moment and used this opportunity to do this shoot. A shoot that was also inspired by my favourite candid photo of my Amma from my childhood; a photo that I wanted to recreate as a young woman who has embraced who she is, especially in terms of her Tamil heritage. It gave me the chance to reflect on the endless and sentimental conversations that I have had with my Amma about Tamil culture and the impact its had on my identity and life. Having this time of reflection hasn't only just made me value the time that I have with my Amma, but given me the chance to embrace more and more of my Tamil identity through visual collaborating with my Amma, rather than just only having conversations.
Ata Rodo Take Over
These beautiful photos that led to this snowball effect, where I also had the chance to do my first ever Instagram take over for Mother's day - speaking about who I am and of course my biggest inspiration for my work, Amma. This was an opportunity that I was slightly nervous about as it was my first time verbally explaining who I am as a creative and what my creative journey has been like so far. It was of course a nostalgic moment as I was able to do this Mother's day, and really appreciate how supportive (something that I am very grateful for) my Amma has been throughout my artistic career so far, something that I know can be a struggle for some creatives in the south Asian community.
வீடு & பாரம்பரியம் (means home & heritage) by Mathushaa Sagthidas, Chiswick Towers (Edit by Amritha Vadi) and North London
To think that this particular photo started from being a recreation of my favourite childhood photo, to being put up on a billboard and a concept being covered by Campaign Magazine is definitely something that I never thought would happen. Having this chance to really bring south Asian representation from an authentic and genuine perspective; and most importantly to think that I’m actually someone who is providing visual inspiration for young south Asian women to be like "She looks likes me, there's a brown girl on a billboard", is honestly dream. Especially growing up I would’ve loved to have been able to more representation like this, but the importance of representation wasn’t as highlighted back then. Now the lack of representation of POC community/ misrepresentation is slowly being made aware of and to think I’m contributing towards changing this - it's an unbelievable feeling!
Will be posting more about this project on the 30th March 2021, follow my Instagram to keep updated, especially to see more shoots with my Amma!