The Art of Diaspora Memory-History: Mapping Geographies of Diaspora, on Canvas

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This paper will examine the 'ways of seeing' inscribed in the descriptions of idealised landscapes of South Asian women in North West London. The artist Melanie Carvalho has produced 22 canvases from these descriptions, as part of a collaborative project. These descriptions and canvases are considered as visual expressions of the negotiation of diasporic migration. For the post-colonial South Asian population living in Britain, dis-enfranchisement from a sense of Englishness and English landscape has resulted in new configurations of identification. These configurations are expressed in this landscape project as mediations between 'home' landscapes and Englishness, as well as ways of negotiating different cultures of identification and being. Memory, aesthetics and textures of nature are discussed in the paper as important components of diasporic engagements with landscape as a visual framing of identification with places of belonging, and as an experience of environment, and citizenship within England.


Keywords: Diaspora, Melanie Carvalho, Art, Memory, Landscape
Stream: Arts Theory and Criticism
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Divya Praful Tolia-Kelly

University Lecturer, Geography, Durham University
Durham, Durham, UK

I am a cultural geographer and work as a collaborative researcher with diasporic communities, living in Britain and landscape artists. I have curated ‘Nurturing Ecologies/ Maps of the Known World’, with Lancastrian artist Graham Lowe who produced a set of 20 images from a joint research project entitled Nurturing Ecologies funded by Lancaster University in summer 2004, to investigate the multicultural values of the English Lake District to residents of Lancashire. Also curated Describe a landscape’, University College London (July 2000) and IBG/RGS annual conference, University of Plymouth (January 2001) with artist Melanie Carvalho who produced a set of images as part of the substantive ethnographic research project with Asian women in london.

Ref: A09P0577