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Annu Palakunnathu Matthew-1964 | Artist’s Statements

Memories of India

Silken saris billow in the wind.
Shapes and colors turn into patterns that come and go.
There is no origin, only destiny in the winds.
I look through my camera, it makes my spirit wander.
The sound of tambourines awakens memories,
visions of my mother, of childhood.
Visions of India. Homeland. But where is home?

Being born in England, raised in India and now living in America, my mixed or "masala" background continues to shape my life. My photographs are interpretations rather than a documentation of my life as an Asian-Indian woman living in a Diaspora. They serve as invitations into my personal reality shaped by influences that are cultural, personal, and photographic.

Because of my early upbringing in England, I approach India as something of an outsider. Albeit, an outsider with reminiscing for the sights, sounds, and smells that are childhood impressions of my cultural homeland. As a recent immigrant living in Diaspora, my visits home are important. I use them to reconnect with what I have left behind. For me to look forward I need to be comfortable looking backwards. The images are a time warp, taking me back so the memories can be experienced over and over again. I enhance these memories by the use of a simple plastic-lensed Holga camera that makes images with a dreamy quality.

For me, these photographs are reminiscent of the melody of a Raga in Indian music. Where the notes are delicate and complex at the same time, blending to form a poignant, haunting melody that will transport me, and the viewer, into memories of my homeland India.