Where am I from? I know the two words of my family’s ancestry – ‘Goan Indian’, but what does this mean to me? How do I as a brown person raised far from the land of my cultural roots and around few people who share them, try to connect to my cultural heritage? How do I represent this in a self-portrait when my google search research often points me to history written from a white, colonialist, capitalist perspective, and to photography and writing related to white tourism and journalism? So here, instead of those reference points, I decided to wrestle and embrace the memory of my ancestry that I believe my body holds within. An elephant never forgets. My ancestors float in the flowing coconut water, drawn as ‘Chicos’ – the brown baby shaped candy lollies that were a problematic, consumable, rare representation of brownness from my childhood in Australia. I hold my belly to connect to my body and my womb, pondering the continuation of my bloodline.
2012, felt-tip marker, coloured pencil and acrylic paint pen on Stonehenge cotton paper, 96.5 × 127 cm (38 × 50 in). Collection of the University of Queensland.