Letters of Haunting
- Artist: Par Nair
- Medium: Installation
- Project Type: In the Aggregate
- Curator: Noa Bronstein
- Neighbourhood: Scarborough
“Letters of Haunting” is a series of textile installations that explores familial histories in diaspora through reclamation of ancestral traditions.
Scarborough Civic Centre
- Address: 150 Borough Drive
- Public Washrooms: Yes
- Physical Access: Wheelchair accessible
- Indoors/Outdoors: Indoors
“Letters of Haunting” is an ongoing series of textile installations where the artist writes labour and care-filled letters to her mother on her mother's silk sarees through hand embroidery. These are letters of love, of frustration, longing, and reaching letters of impossibility. The work addresses the perpetual longing in diasporic subjects for the mother, the mother tongue, and the mother land. The labour-intense process of hand embroidery implies how we may touch or not touch our mothers and grandmothers. The formal qualities of this work refers to themes of ritual, repetition, hybridity, double consciousness, intergenerational translations, and knowledge transmissions. The work speaks to the often invisible and mute histories of migrants shedding light on spaces of domesticity and ritual to critique the white cube rhetoric. It calls attention to canonically underrepresented art practices for community building, deinstitutionalization of art spaces, and sustainability. The intention is to break ground and give a platform to practices and stories that have been traditionally sidelined by institutional frameworks.
I want to thank my mother and grandmother who I consider my life-long artistic collaborators for inspiring me to make every day. I also want to thank the women in my family for sharing stories that have inspired my work. Thank you to our Composer and Sound Designer for the Letters of Haunting Soundtrack, Hasheel. Hasheel is a senior disciple of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia and Ajay Pohankar. His music has toured him around the world and he is currently in the UK as a composer and lead for Why Not Theatre’s Mahabharata.