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  • Writer's pictureMathushaa Sagthidas

Tamil, Not Just Brown

First and foremost, Happy New Year!

Through out my website, my Instagram and even my blog it is clear that, my Tamil Sri Lankan culture, heritage and history is a crucial and constant influence within majority of my projects; project such as ஒரு தீவிலிருந்து ஒரு நகரம் meaning “A city away from an Island” and மரபுகள் meaning “traditions”.

Look under the project section to read more about these works!

However Tamil culture and just being Tamil in general wasn’t something that I always embraced growing up, but it is something that with time and being curious about my parents history and experiences with the Sri Lankan civil war, that I wanted to learn and understand more. Which I did the best and only way I felt suited it, my creative process around 4-5 years ago. Yet there were occasions were speaking about this aspect of my parents history wasn’t always embraced in the western society, it left me feeling muted; but this changed during university when I realised that my best work is when it’s centred around a subject that I truly care and am passionate about. It’s how I’ve come to embrace my Tamil Sri Lankan heritage more and more; but of course with a touch of western influence having grown up in London.

To me being Tamil isn’t just about the beauty of vibrant festivals and celebrations, fashion and it’s people - something that I see many people take and use despite not being of that heritage or identity. This is something that is an influential part of my work and my identity, but it’s also sentimental value, the history and the conversations on Tamil culture that I have had with my parents that plays a part in who I am as a person and a creative.

Hence the title Tamil, not just brown as the term ‘brown’, despite it being something that I use, is something relatable and broad. There so many aspects of various races, culture and history within the south Asian/ ‘brown’ community that differ from each other, despite some similarities. This is something that is important to remember and highlight.

Photography by me ©

Math x

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