PiXelation

As a multidisciplinary designer, the main motif within my practice is material exploration. Pushing the boundaries of graphic design and what that can look like in an institutional setting and beyond is what keeps me creating. Recently, material exploration, specifically industrial materials, has been something I have been very interested in exploring and in doing so, I am thinking about the relationship between industrial materials and people of color. Immigrants coming to the states often times make their living through blue collar jobs such as fabrication. This is where the line between practical usage of industrial materials and utilization of the same materials for fine art are blurred. Growing up I was constantly surrounded by industrial materials such as wood and metal since my father built his life in the U.S by working as a fabricator. They are very special to me and they’re a huge part of what has formed my life and my fathers. It’s the thing that bonds us together- my interest in metal and his skill level in welding and fabrication. Working these blue collar jobs is a norm for immigrants coming into this country. They are seen as an easy Segway into achieving the “American Dream.” Within Can the Subaltern Speak, I am using metal signage to pay homage to him and to the thing that has shaped him as an immigrant. I created four silk flags that were designed by me but fabricated in India, to nod at the powerful symbolism they represent in this country. The flags are designed in Hindi and Spanish, turning the concept of American nationalism on its head as well as speaking more towards the concept of third culture. Third Culture kids are defined as people raised in a culture other than that of their country of nationality for a significant part of their early development years. They are often exposed to a greater variety of cultural influences. I wanted to explore this definition in order to make others aware of what this was. I am sure a lot of people are unaware of third culture although they have been living in it their whole lives. I think it is important for others to feel whole while in this constant search of trying to find somewhere to fit in. My whole life the struggle has been that I am not “American”enough, after all I don’t look like an “American,” but we can get into that conversation later. I didn’t feel Indian enough nor did I feel Latin enough to claim those identities. I am not concretely one thing and that leaves a sour taste in my mouth, for the sake of wanting to be concretely whole. I have realized that although I am not concretely one thing, who is anyway? I am a mix of all my experiences. A fluid blend of everything I’ve gone through in my life, all the stares, remarks, and comments resulting in one unique being. This idea of third culture is a term that I myself recently found out about and it perfectly encapsulated what I have been trying to put into words for years. It only made sense to me to mix different materials when creating a body of work surrounding an idea that is a mix of different cultures and experiences, to me, it was the rational decision to approach this topic in a multidisciplinary way. The pieces seen here that are made out of steel will be given back to my fathers shop once this installation is over to be used for further fabrication projects.