Dual identities of ‘virtual immigrants’ on display

Staff Reporter

The exhibition is on till September 19

BANGALORE: When Annu Palakunnathu Mathew became an American citizen, the brochure entitled “A Welcome to American Citizenship” surprised her.

It said that she was now an American citizen, and no longer an Englishwoman, a Frenchwoman or a Pole.

She was no more a hyphenated American either.

“These words contradicted my experience and seemed to negate my own trans-nationality having lived in England, India and now America,” she says.

This sense of disconnect has been translated into her new work, “The Virtual Immigrant”, now on display at Tasveer on Kasturba Road. The work deals with the dual identities of those who work in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

When she visited her “cultural homeland” in Bangalore she saw the effect that the BPO industry had on people, who studied American culture and became fluent with American idioms by watching American football games and episodes of sitcoms.

“They flip back and forth between cultures, and when they come home they are back to being their Indian selves,” she says. “The depth of the psychological effect on these people was something that stood out,” she says.

How she looks at these “virtual immigrants” is interesting. Using Lenticular prints, she tries to capture their dual identities. “My artwork explores the fluidity of this new type of immigrant, relevant as we debate the gains and losses created by the effects of globalisation,” says Ms. Mathew.

The exhibition is on at Tasveer till September 19 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

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