Suchitra Mattai: Portraits of Colonialism

An Interview

As told to Noelani Kirschner | The American Scholar

I was born in Guyana, South America, and am of Indian, South-Asian descent. The Indians who were brought to Guyana were indentured servants to British colonial rule. I grew up in Canada and here in the States. I always wanted to be an artist, but given that my family were immigrants and didn’t think of art as a viable career choice, I ended up doing other things first. Eventually, I went back to grad school for painting and drawing, and those are at the core of my practice. So even when I make mixed-media work, a lot of it still tends to be two-dimensional.

I’ve been building on my ‘Revisionist’ series since 2016. Basically, given the critical time that we’re in, I’ve been thinking about borders and immigration and issues surrounding race. I wanted to make work that was having a conversation with the past, but also creating new conversations in the present. I started thinking about my own biographical situation and relation to some of those things, and thinking about my family’s relationship to colonialism. In doing so, a lot of different themes emerged…

Read the rest of this interview from The American Scholar.