Camberwell Residency 2021
தமிழ்மகளிர் தின வாழ்த்துக்கள் meaning "Happy Tamil Women’s Day" by Mathushaa Sagthidas @mathuxphotos
வலிமை & விரிதிறன் meaning "Strength & Resilience", refers to my mum's strength and resilience of her journey. From surviving a war to struggles of immigrating to beginning a new life and family. These precious objects are my sentimental reflection of her legacy that my sister and I will carry on - in the centre is my mum's Sri Lankan ID, one of the very few things she was able to bring here and my glimpse into her youth. In the top right corner is a photo from her UK college ID, where she worked on her English speaking and writing skills. In the bottom left corner is the first passport photo she had taken since starting a new family in the UK; next to a piece of jewellery her brother (who helped and supported her when coming to the UK) gifted to me.
மீட்டெடுங்கள் meaning "Reclaim" refers to reclaiming so many aspects of my Tamil roots that I grew up distancing myself from - such as my name to various Hindu influences like Navaratri. Navaratri according to my mum, is a nine-day celebration for female goddesses', Durga who represents strength, Saraswati who represents learning and Lakshmi who represents power. Goddesses I refer to through the colours of their saris - Durga for red, Saraswati for white and Lakshmi for green to emulate these divinities in my Tamil roots and personality.
வயதுவரும் meaning "Coming of Age" refers to a Tamil Hindu tradition that celebrates a young girl getting her period for the first time. The historical belief is that this means the girl is ready to get married and bear children but in my family is just about celebrating become a woman. This idea stems from another project with Tamil Culture discussing my own puberty ceremony and how many Tamil women are against it due to its history, but I wanted to showcase its beauty, its cultural and traditional importance - and for me, it is big part of my journey as a Tamil woman.
Mathushaa Sagthidas’s photography showcases a strong interest in fine art, contemporary fashion, and styling; skills further studying fashion promotion at Ravensbourne University London and fine art photography at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL. Mathushaa’s work is often examines her identity - Tamil Eelam ethnicity and British nationality, which is a pivotal part of her work. This complex cultural identity is often reflected through traditions, history and strongly by fashion photography. Mathushaa feels that her work surrounding Tamil culture plays an important part in embracing the history and heritage. As Tamils were once considered “an enormous strain on the system” in London during the nineties, the time of mass immigration (5:48 – 6:17, Matangi/ Maya/ M.I.A, 2018). Something she finds ironic as many institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum were built and have financially grown off the backs of colonisation of the sub-Indian continent. From these few glimpses of research that has impacted her artistic growth, she begun to develop to a deeper appreciation of her parents’ background and felt luckily to learn about their history first hand. This has led to an engagement in a new process of constructing south Asian identity through that projects she creates.
Mathushaa's work has been featured on Campaign Magazine, Graduate Fashion Week, Fashion Scout, FAD Charity, Anisha Parmar London, MESA Magazine, Asian Woman Festival and more. Feel free to check it out!