Repressed Memories” was initiated from Chennai at the end of 2016. I was in my twenties and searching for direction and my place in the world. A borrowed Holga toy camera in my bag, my Enfield took over an hour to get out of the city where I grew up; heat beat on my helmet and dodging traffic, screening noise, and inhaling exhaust fumes forced my senses to overload levels. Finally, I found myself on a relatively open stretch of highway. With no destination in mind, I followed the east coast route through Tamil Nadu. It was to be the first of several trips over six years.
That first day, I arrived somewhere new. I passed green paddies where lines of women, petticoats tucked up to the waist and bare legs sunk into brown water, bent to tender rice plants and, slowing behind a rocking bullock cart, almost missed the unmarked carved stone bathing tank designed for a princess long forgotten. Passing through small towns I observed the vernacular of daily life, rituals, influences, dilemmas, contrasts, dramas and dreams out of which my identity must have evolved. As a child, many of my questions were repressed, leaving my understanding of this land always clouded. As I started to photograph, I focused on the subtle interaction of human beings with their environment and upon encountering the loneliness that so often lies at the heart of sadness in many landscapes was forced to confront my own. I began exploring as a foreigner in my own land but by accepting my vulnerability as one common to those around me, I watched my photographs show more empathy.
While editing, relationships appeared between specific photographs and their subjects which supported presenting this story in a format of diptyques and triptyques. The photographs offer clues but no specific answers to my personal questions and the series as a whole is an effort to express emotional experience reflected in the reality of the world. The "memories' is, over the long run of time, memory becomes fiction as a collective memory. Memory is an independent thing and unrepeatable which dies with each and every person. As a memory, the stories about how it happened are important, the photographs which lock the stories in our mind.
I explore as a foreigner in my own land. It's up to me to decide who I can be and where I will go from here.