Love & Other Hurts

The multi-layered form of image-making follows a subjective narrative that interlaces individual stories through research with examination of literature, archives, family albums, personal letters, objects and other found material. For example, two biographies from authors based out of the Midlands - ‘Not Our Daughter, The true Story of a Daughter-in-law’ by Kalbir Bains, and Meri Kahani (My Story) by Gurmail Singh Bhamra - have been used as part of the work by interacting with the authors and reinterpreting their stories as part of the larger visual narrative. Material from Apna Heritage Archive (Wolverhampton), a local community archive, has also been used as a source for conducting interviews and making images. The choice of subject has been kept deliberately broad, selecting women across generations from diverse socio-economic groups of Punjabi and Sikh extraction. 

The technique of making images plays a fundamental role in the narrative process. In Love & Other Hurts, I have experimented with abstraction and photographic layering to push the boundaries of storytelling. I have used multiple-exposure on analogue film to blur the boundaries of location, reshot over archival material to meld past with present and given analogue film to a handful of my subjects over which I have photographed my own pictures based on extensive interviews with them. What comes to the surface are elements of chance and surreal connections, which convey the dualities and complexities of the lives lived between two cultures. Embroidery has also been used, stitched onto the surface of photographs or stretched between the images, becoming the metaphor for threads that connect people to place. But also of erasure, of absent husbands and fading memories. 

Above all, it is participation that defines my working practice: a desire to involve the subjects themselves in the narrative process of their stories. I reject the notion of the objective outside documenter and favour inclusiveness and interaction as my shared image-making process demonstrates. This approach enriches my storytelling and blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction. Truth-telling takes second place in favour of impressions and shifting gazes that play with the imagination.

First exhibited as part of a group show 'GirlGaze', at the Punjab Lalit Kala Academy, Chandigarh, 2018. Also exhibited at the 'Blast Photo Festival', UK, 2019