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  • Writer's pictureMathushaa Sagthidas

Self Portraits

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My work, as I’m sure you already know, really revolves around collaborative projects with many south Asians; but when COVID hit, I had to adjust to the new circumstances and find new methods ofcreating work, especially still being a university student. For me, this pandemic has been another learning curving and has really developed for my creative process in unexpected ways. The pandemic can either make you feel like something that is pressuring you or something that is motivating - I chose to look at it as something motivational and a new way to discover other creative avenues - this also gave me something to do and keep my occupied to forget the fact we are in a third lockdown.

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Majority of my work has become creating and improving on my still life and product photography but also exploring self portraits (or very very occasionally with my mum lol) - something that was very different and has really made me realise how much I love the collaborative process and working with others. Regardless creating various still lifes and self portraits has been a really valuable experience - it’s made considering how to create art without people. My still life work has been inspired by various aspects of Tamil culture but also other artists that focus on still life work - but of course my recreations will either have a Tamil twist or purely just be inspired by conversations that I have had with my mum about our Tamil traditions. Whereas my self portrait work is my take on my identity, instead of reflecting it through other south Asians or photographing south Asians with a similar history, I decide to start exploring and being a model for my photos.

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One reason is that I began to feel that creating still life/ product photography felt repetitive, especially as I am someone who was constantly working with people before COVID - creating self portraits was a new way to experiment with photography as well as exploring another technical skill. A skill and experiment that has improved my confidence but has led to many other incredible ideas and opportunities, such as working with my mum on shoot rather than just speaking about ideas. Photos which end being on billboards across the UK, you can read more about it here -

Despite lockdown having its limitations and leaving us feeling stuck in what we can do, I don’t think that I would’ve considered creating work like this, let alone have as many conversations as I’ve had with my mum - something that has not only been a learning experience, but nostalgic and sentimental too, and in times like this, I feel this is what is needed.

Math x

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