Cue Magazine | Darsha Indrajith
My new phone autocorrects my name to “Arab”. This is troubling because I’m brown.
I’m used to feeling excluded because of my brownness. I don’t usually see people who look like me on TV, on stage or on CD covers. Well, except for Bollywood movies. But as a South African Indian who grew up in a Hindu household, went to an Anglican school and lives in a settler town, Bollywood doesn’t interrogate the issues I struggle with. I also look nothing like Aishwarya Rai.
The problem with many of the portrayals of South African Indians seen at Festival, mostly in the comedy genre, is that they are stereotypical caricatures — even when presented by South African Indians themselves. The art presented this year, though, has dealt with issues pertinent to South African Indian experiences.
Hasan and Husain Essop’s exhibition, Unrest, blew me away. Despite its personal focus (the brothers only portray themselves in their photographs), it dealt with reconciling possibly conflicting beliefs and identities in a global and South African context. I immediately related to the idea of growing up between cultures and classes, and its resultant discord. This fragmented identity, or the “post-modern subject” as cultural theorist Stuart Hall called it, is applicable to most people my age.
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