Can art lead us on a journey of healing? 

Why the Tides Ebb and Flow


Graduation Project
M.Des 2016
Photography Design

project social︎︎︎

Through this project, I navigate through personal and intergenerational trauma by looking at my matrilineal history. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been struggling to cope with the trauma from an assault, which has stirred up the dormant transgenerational trauma from being a Dalit. My mother and grandmother have always used embroidering, knitting, and similar therapeutic skills to cope with their mental health. Using this as an opportunity, my mother and I are engaging in conversations on our ancestry, heritage of being Tamil Dalit Christians while locating trauma and healing in an artistic sense through the medium of performative photographs, audio, video, knitting, and embroidery.

My aim is to create a space for us to heal together. Ever since I was a child, my mother and I always found activities to do together and talk about my mother’s childhood stories. Opening up to each other about our collective experience as Dalit women having gone through traumatic incidents was far more difficult than I expected. The beginning of the process was considerably easy, as we started sharing our individual experiences while I was learning the skills and we could work with several mediums at once. As we progressed, identifying how these experiences have shaped our body and mind has been all-consuming. I realised that the healing process would be a lifetime of dedicating time, energy, and attention towards revisiting the difficult corners of our experiences. As our conversations complexified, we had to narrow down our approaches for the work not to look scattered. I am now concentrating on connecting these separate media. I aim to create parallels between the mediums and these conversations so that the viewer can navigate through them as we have been able to.

Working on this project has helped me undertake more challenging conversations and react to them through various mediums, without much anxiety or fear. I am starting to understand how much privilege and exposure I have compared to my mother and grandmother, who are able to make amazing work without much opportunity. I see how the differentiation between what is considered art or craft, and realise it is a feminist problem. This project is shaping the way I think and do work. I am becoming more mindful.