A Younger Stylist’s Ode to the Tamil Diaspora
“Poitu varen” – which means ‘I’ll return’ in Tamil – is what the dad and mom of younger stylist Aathirai Valentine stated to their homeland of Sri Lanka once they have been compelled to go away. The Sri Lankan Civil Struggle (1983-2009) rocked the lives of tens of millions, with 1000’s going lacking – quickly assumed killed – and inflicting a mass displacement of the Sri Lankan diaspora. Her dad and mom began anew in Berlin, and later Valentine searched to reconnect together with her Tamil roots. Diaspora Survival Techniques, a photograph sequence conceptualised and styled by Valentine is the product of her quest.
“The final time I travelled to Sri Lanka it was with my household and I used to be fairly younger. It was earlier than 2009 when the civil conflict was at its peak level,” says Valentine. “As a younger teenager I couldn’t totally comprehend what was occurring on the time, however seeing individuals by no means lose their pleasure or their hope and persevering with to indicate their power regardless of the genocide that occurred actually impacted me.” Chosen by Dazed’s vogue director Imruh Asha via Mentoring Issues, a scheme that goals to redress the steadiness of equality and alternative inside the artistic industries, Asha helped galvanise a staff for Valentine to grasp the mission, and the braveness to inform her story.
Captured by Jakob Tillman towards the city backdrop of Berlin with hair by Masayuki Yuasa and make-up by Lee Hyangsoon, the photograph sequence sees three Sri Lankan fashions styled in modernised Tamil clothes, seemingly misplaced towards their industrial surroundings. “My moodboard was crammed with the few household photos we had left from Sri Lanka since a variety of them bought destroyed in the course of the conflict,” says Valentine. “Seeing this conflict of colors and a wild mixture of patterns and textures naturally gave me the concept to deconstruct the standard appears. I might place hidden parts just like the flower garland and blend it with trendy silhouettes or go for a slightly muted color palette to merge my completely different cultural influences.”
In addition to being on a private journey to reconnect with a heritage she feels faraway from – and honour the plight of her dad and mom – Valentine hopes to talk to a neighborhood underrepresented in her artistic subject. “My dad and mom have been the primary those who I confirmed the photographs to. It was an exquisite second. They immediately felt linked to the photographs and noticed all of the references and hidden parts that I used from Tamil tradition. They have been actually moved by the truth that I didn’t overlook my roots and that I’m preserving my heritage.”