My video poetry engages with diasporic identities, emotions and memories. I express experiences of isolation, displacement and belonging alongside the constant negotiation between alienation and affinity. The geographical and mental spaces I recreate in my art bring to life the complexity of what it means to be a migrant. Within these sites, I often bring out gender and sexuality beyond a singular coherent subject.
My artistic practice is inspired by South Asian spiritual approaches and philosophies of reincarnation and inter-connectedness. In my video poetry, I adopt elements of the Punjabi storytelling device Jugni – a fable creature (firefly) that lands in different places and observes in order to learn something new. Through variations of this folk technique, I decentre the human being as the omnipotent subject or object of the story. My art often features aspects of everyday life – clothes hanging, sitting and waiting, getting dressed, sleeping, travelling on transit, watching through windows, and interacting with nature’s companions. I juxtapose these traces and observations within a multiplicity of places and positions: city, villages, homes, staircases, streets, rooftops, institutions. By using poetic arrangement, spiritual iterations, and nuanced repetitions, I unleash the extraordinary hopes and relationships underneath these ordinary events.
Through my devotional approach to artwork, I invite the possibility of communicating stories and sentiments outside of the human actions and verbalizations that are usually considered meaningful. My video poetry is often silent in words – in meditation with nature, water, birds, hidden creatures. Recurring memories leap time and space. The cyclical, fragmented and poetic narrative I use disrupts linear progression and human-centric completeness. Instead, I interweave life-death, nature-city, animal-human and reality-fantasy. I do this to open up potential for identity and community beyond confined practices of the self as bounded, coherent and autonomous. Jugni helps me to give political, social, spiritual commentaries on the places travelled.