As an Indian, born in India, but having immigrated to Bahrain and then Muscat at a young age, I’d often find myself shifting between these two identities. My parents have lived in Muscat for the last 24 years and it’s a place I still consider home, but so is India. Most of my years growing up were spent in Muscat with kebabs, shawarmas, manakeesh, laban, and hummus. However, my summer holidays were split between Delhi and Calcutta, and were filled with Alphonso mangoes, aloo parathas, copious amounts of my dadi’s delicious kheer, Kathi rolls, and street food - I’m not complaining!
After moving to the US, I realized that my experience growing up outside of India was similar but slightly different from the people who grew up here. As an Indian or a person of Indian origin brought up in a different country, there are strong cultural ties to the ancestral homeland, but they have also found a beautiful way to identify with the country their respective families immigrated to. I could relate to both the Indian and Omani aspect of my childhood, but not entirely one and it’s this duality that I try and express through my art.
My new series titled, ‘Unidentified’ is an experience that I think a lot of people can relate to. I started creating art as a creative outlet during the pandemic. My digital collages are composed of found images that are manipulated and edited to create unique and affordable art. The subjects are usually people of Indian descent, placed against Indian or Middle Eastern architecture. There are lots of different elements and it can look quite chaotic, but when it’s looked at in its entirety it all fits seamlessly.
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