Annu Palakunnathu Matthew: An Indian from India
Curated by Viera Levitt
Exhibition Dates: Nov 13, 2014 – Jan 25, 2015
Reception: AHA! Night, Thursday Nov 13, 6-9 pm, Artist Talk 7 pm
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s work explores and challenges our perception of identity, photography and memory. She enlivens old black and white, or sepia toned photos through a surprising and skillful technique of digital manipulation that preserves the background while adding figures of herself or others. With this body of work, Ms. Matthew challenges our perceptions of time and collective memory, while also asking us to look with new eyes at the much cherished family photograph, especially those that were perhaps brought to this country by our immigrant grandparents. Additionally, by replacing static images with animations that are displayed on iPads and inserted into an old book or picture frames, Matthew adds surprise, an inverted dimension of time and contemporary interpretation into a traditional form of media.
According to recent article on her work in The New York Times by David Gonzalez, “The idea, though humorous at first glance, is actually a challenging mediation on the legacies of colonial pasts that were marked by painful attempts to ‘civilize’ native people — if not reduce them to nameless types — while idealizing white colonizers.”
The issue of identity is also reflected in her work exploring minorities. Inspired by projections that by 2050 today’s minorities will be in the majority, she has been meeting with families, going through picture albums and posing several generations, using animation as well, to portray their histories.