Ryerson Artspace, Toronto
July 6 – July 30, 2017
Colonial mimicry is the desire for a reformed recognizable Other
- Homi Bhabha
Dear Nani is a project that addresses issues of gender performance and colonial mimicry through the family archive.
The photographs included in this project are of my maternal grandmother, Rhubab Tapal, or Nani. Nani is performing the act of cross-dressing by wearing several different outfits that belong to her husband. The photographs were taken on her honeymoon after the couple was newly married in Quetta and Karachi Pakistan, in 1948. My grandfather or Nana, Gulam Abbas Tapal, is the photographer and presumed director of the photo session.
As I try to understand these images, I put myself into the unanswered questions
- Homi K. Bhabha, "Chapter 4, Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse" The Location of Culture. (Routledge: London and New York, 1994) pp. 125