When addressing the issue of globalisation, the immediate correlate seems to be homogenization.
Colonialism globalised the idea that the West was superior and civilized in opposition to Indigenous cultures still very close to Nature. There was the West and the other, the oriental as Said explained. The world was separated in two and the model to thrive for was the West but in the post modernist era a third space is becoming prominent in Art, the Diaspora. It is a world where people move simultaneously though the visible and the invisible.
Mohini Chandra’s approach to globalisation via vernacular culture is one that puts the experience of the Diaspora at the centre of the dialogue. She uses photos of her own family to explore histories of migration and cultural identities shifts in post colonialism. In “Travels in a New World”, she tells her own story, conducts a “personal anthropology” in exploring her family’s past to inform a wider view of the South Asian Diaspora. In remembering her childhood, she connects it to the history of the places and cultures she lived in and takes us on a journey questioning cultural identity.
Chandra’s look at globalisation through the vernacular prevents the subversion of the dominant culture through appropriation in Homi Bhabha’s words. She connects her viewers to the universal through her individual experience and escapes globalisation.
Her work is beautifully summed up in Sean Cubitt’s thought: “Either globalization severs us from one another permanently and to the point of disparate isolation; or it must be challenged by these other nets of interest, care and memory.”
Sophie Meyer – 2012