Ongoing series, Medium: Drawing, Technique: Scratched paper, Size: 21.0 x 29.7 cm each (set of 51 works), Switzerland.
Zwischen (between) is an ongoing series of white on white drawings I started in 2017. This work started after meeting Bangladeshi people I met in my neighborhood in Aarau, Switzerland. During the partition of India in 1947 and the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, a large number of refugees migrated from Bangladesh to West Bengal, India. I was affected by the fact that I grew up in this culture in- between where my Bangladeshi friends were never well accepted as a refugee in West Bengal households. Europe is my refuge as like other Bangladeshi refugees and I felt immediate home to speak in our common language Bengali.
Slowly my work start to expanding by my new encounters with other immigrants, refugees and expats alike, during my travel and stay in Europe. It started with curiosity and necessity in the movement the languages we assimilate, or cannot assimilate. The history of Colonial Language, mother tongue, body language, accent, adaptation of a new language in Eurocentric society. We invited each other and shared many intense memories, talked for hours on In-between life, traditional music, food, and memories. Together we shared lunch/dinner, we shared music and people were happy to open up themselves naturally. I asked my guests if they want to leave some special words from them as memorabilia for us so I can create a drawing on that memory. Many of them left such meaningful words.
It was a challenge to find a way to preserve those deep memories through inkless drawings. As a child, I often traveled with my parents to Indian archeological sites/temples. There I found engraved and scratched names on walls and pillars by earlier visitors. I was always fascinated by this technique of preserving one’s memory. This idea influenced me while I was registering people’s voices, about their memories of home, by scratching on paper. These works are silent representations and tactile recordings of their voices. Some of the words I chose from them are profound statements about the value of each individual within larger geography.
In this journey, I discerned that there was also a very affected emotional element on my personality that I wanted to transfer to my work. This started when I started working with collected stories from my known environment and start to choreograph collected words. I research into specific histories and areas to uncover connections among geographically and culturally disparate communities and to explore the tension between tradition and transformation.
Details of the technique, Paper scratching on acid free paper.