Entry 26: ZA/in – my graduation exhibition

Title: ZA/in

Venue: Grahamstown, Albany Natural Sciences museum, Blue planet gallery annexe.

ZA/in is about my identity: as a South African Indian female living in a westernised, post- colonial time, my identity construction has been influenced by many facets such as my heritage, race, gender and nationality.

I am a descendent of the 1860 indentured labourers who journey from India to work in the sugar cane fields of Kwa Zulu Natal. At the same time I am a South African citizen. There is thus a constant struggle between my Indian birthright and my lived experience as a South African. In this exhibition, I draw on inspiration from my Indian culture, my religion (as this has been adapted in a South African context), and my embeddedness in South African society.

The predominant motif that emerges is hybridity, as a metaphor for the lived duality of being both Indian and South African at the same time.

The exhibition was based on installation work thus the one piece of scuplture would not have worked without the other. The exhibition was a sensonry experience as it heightened the sense of sound, smell and touch.

On entry into the exhibition there was a sound piece which worked with a performer practicing a ritual of homage and blessing to the motherland. As you entered the space there was an Indetured labourer agreement to read which was printed onto hessian. Pungent smells of spices hit you as you walked through rows of saris. Each sari had an individual intervention on such as the embroidery of the word enlightenment. Whilst others had printed documents of my grandfathers memoirs. A sculpted golden Ganesha stole the splotlight with his garland of proteas.

There was a play on the Indian floor decoration of the kolam. This kolam was the South African national anthem which had been translated into Hindi. There were two stained glass windows; one with the Indian coat of arms and one with the South African coat of arms. A heap of tumeric transformed the centre of the room, in which my fragmented body lay amongst clay lamps of fellow family members. A series of cow heads were suspended by butcher hooks each with a different garland.

Day of exhibition:


41 thoughts on “Entry 26: ZA/in – my graduation exhibition

  1. Kinita

    very disappointed i didnt get to see the actual exhibition because the pictures look amazing. I would have loved to ahve been apart of the sensory experience. I can see you put a lot of effort into your exhibition and the intricate detail shows.

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