Somewhere In Between
The urge to belong is primordial and universal. Belonging with an individual, a group, a nation, is integral to our self concept. According to the American psychologist Abraham Maslow, a Hierarchy of Needs operates for each individual. The ideal motivation, self-actualization, is at the top and belongingness needs to be fulfilled before evolving towards the ultimate potential. Although, the theory has been criticized for its simplistic categorization, the need to belong has been acknowledged as crucial for one’s mental and emotional well-being.
Citizenship, language, gender, education, sexual orientation, religion, and socioeconomic background are some important markers one uses to locate her/his belonging. Each individual is defined by multiple markers. These may conflict with one another or with prevalent societal norms. As potential threats to belonging it pushes the individual in ambivalent and transient states of belonging and nonbelonging. Furthermore, they can co-exist, collide, and merge on this continuum. The threats leave the individual’s self concept fragmented, pushing her/him on a new quest to belong.
The exhibition comprises of works by Desmond Lazaro, Trisha Bose and Ayushman Mitra. The artists deal with belonging on different levels. Lazaro grew up with stories of the homeland that his family had to abandon in order to relocate to a new homeland. Personal memories and Polaroid pictures of the family in their new surroundings inspired the series Cini Films. Based on observation and first hand interaction with refugees residing in the National Capital Region, Bose takes us through their nuanced physical and psychological journey in Limbo, Gravity, Heal. In Shelter, Mitra acknowledges his personal struggle for acceptance of his queer identity in society by creating a warm embracing space, which is marked with motifs of rage on the outside. All works take off from a sense of non-belonging but strive for belonging, connecting them in a dialogue, which makes one reflect on the various levels of belonging.