Studio, 2003
Still from DVD projection
Courtesy of the artist

Born 1964, Canvey Island, United Kingdom; lives in London

The Indian Fijian artist Mohini Chandra’s video focuses on the commercial photographic portrait studio as a place where people stage images of themselves as they would like others to see them. Chandra’s two video works positioned at different places in the gallery take us into Indian-owned studios in Fiji, one in Suva and one in Nadi. On one level, the videos work as a metaphor for the quasi-invisible social condition of Indian Fijians, who make up almost 45 percent of the population but have limited rights to land ownership and restricted participation in the country’s legal, administrative, and political structure. On another level, the videos of Indians suggest an escapism but, perhaps, also an identification with a country and culture apart from the one in which they are living. Many Indian Fijians were born in Fiji, have spent their lives there, and feel nostalgia for a homeland, even one that some have never visited.

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