Prefix, 2016
Project info

Through the use of self-portraiture, appropriation and simple sculptures, Prefix aims to retell and reclaim my origin story through a decolonized perspective while exploring the importance of coupling language with images and its effect on interpretation. The series aims to merge the historical and personal archive into a single continuum. As a biracial person my origin has always been a point of curiosity and contention – not Black enough to really be Black and not Indian enough either. To be described using the prefix “Black” conjures preconceived notions of “Blackness” created by the colonial gaze and solidified by the camera in the photographic canon. The work examines my historical family migration in relation to colonial exportation of commodities: labour, tea, sugar, and rice production in Guyana from Africa and India and uses these colonial tropes in the imagery to comment on identity formation, cultural appropriation and the burden of cultural hybridity. The series also engages issues of representation of the black female nude and references historical trauma to the back suffered by enslaved peoples. Coupled with the prints is an installation of framed tea-soaked fabrics that progressively get darker. The installation speaks to the staining of culture as well as comments on colorism in the black community.