Annu ennui

March 19, 2010


Identities and resulting crises are not new to humanity nor is migration. Every single person on the planet except those still on the plains of Kenya is a product of a migration. This brings with it an unsettling and a certain amount of uprootedness.

Columbus, 500 years on, might be at the heart of all this brouhaha yet, with Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s show of photographs indicating to us in India that all those who followed Christopher into the melting pot still cant quite tell who the Indian is. Will the real slim shady please stand up, please stand up?

Some years ago Stephen Kapur reminded us that he was an Apache Indian living in Brighton or Birmingham or something Punjabi sounding like that. Ms. Matthew Malayalee is keen  to indicate that if its a dot, then duh, its indian from curry land and if its a feather, then there is a reservation on your scalp.

The photographs might have been entertaining Cindy Sherman or Pushpamalaesque, in no small measure due to the captions which are deprecating and patronising with their original collonial overbearingness. Ms. Matthew somehow trivialises the issues of background, where she substitutes herself most often into a vintage photograph repudiating the history of the ‘noble savage’. Words like ‘diaspora’, speaking of indians in search of a brighter economic future devalue the jewish experience; and ‘gaze’ and ‘conceptual’ trip too easily off a wanna be intellectuality. Deshi goes mod.

In addition to ABCD  and brown being the new red, this is yet another tale of a legal alien, an indian in new york.

……and Memories of India made with a Holga, (yawn), hi-brow cavorting as anti-brow are good enough to join the millions of other cultists on Flickr.