todays events / education
news / reviews
artists / curators / writers
Place of birth Sweden
Country of residence United Kingdom
Nina Mangalanayagam follows the poignant story of her elderly Sri Lankan father recently relocated to northern Sweden. “Image of the week” returns with this beautiful slideshow by a young photographer to watch.Snötäckt is a photography project about my father and his current life situation. Originally from Sri Lanka, he came to Sweden thirty years ago, and has lived there ever since. Recently, certain events occurred that made it impossible for him to stay at his home, and he was obliged to move to northern Sweden. He is now in his late sixties and seriously ill. This limits his ability to travel and therefore, he may never return to his native country. With his illness came the terrible reality that he might soon pass away, and I realised, as so often happens in these kinds of situations, that there were so many things I wanted to ask him, so many things I wanted to know about his life. I turned to my camera to try to make sense of my own emotions and to understand him, and moreover, his relationship with the environment he lives in. Even though this project was inspired by purely personal reasons, I feel the end product raises important global issues around race, identity and displacement.
My father lives near Sweg in the northern part of Sweden, where he is one of the few, possibly the only, non-white men in the community. As a consequence he stands out where ever he goes. Snötäckt analyses my father’s identity living in a culture and climate so radically different from what he grew up in. I have created a narrative, which goes from sunrise to sunset, and gradually introduces the landscape and the identity of the man. I don’t show his face until the end since I want to create a curiosity around the man as well as visually make a point of how someone, who always sticks out from the crowd, starts hiding oneself to appear less noticeable.
In addition, by placing images of him next to ones of snowy landscapes, I want to challenge the notion of the landscape an Indian-looking man is expected to live in. Many non-white people who live in western, developed societies, are still associated with living in urban environments rather than in the countryside. Much of this is due to how immigrants have been visually represented living in minority groups in big cities, rather than on their own trying to adapt to the culture they have moved to.
2006 Shortlisted for Decibel, Visual Arts Awards. 2005: Jerwood Photography Award; Photoworks Prize, LCC Graduate Award; Shortlisted, Deutsch Bank Pyramid Awards