Mathushaa Sagthidas for our Homeland Issue

Mathushaa Sagthidas’s photography showcases a strong interest in fine art, contemporary fashion, and styling; she is studying fashion promotion at Ravensbourne University London and fine art photography at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL. Mathushaa’s work often examines her identity – Tamil Eelam ethnicity and British nationality, which is a pivotal part of her work. This complex cultural identity is often reflected through traditions, history, and strongly by fashion photography. Mathushaa feels that her work surrounding Tamil culture plays an important part in embracing the history and heritage. Mathushaa’s work has been featured on Campaign Magazine, Graduate Fashion Week, Fashion Scout, FAD Charity, Anisha Parmar London, MESA Magazine, Asian Woman Festival, and more. Feel free to check it out!

Describe the relationship between your culture to your art? How is your identity a navigating mechanism for you to create art?

I would describe my relationship with my art and creativity as very much intertwined and really connected – within many of my personal projects, it’s sort of like one can’t exist without the other, especially as I use my creativity and process to figure out and express where I stand with my Tamil roots as someone who was born and raised in London. My art and work is very much a reflection of who I am as a person and what has impacted me to become the person today – which is why a lot of my work really revolves around Tamil culture, something growing up in London I had distanced myself from to fit into westernized society. So I guess my work/ creative process is my way of me trying to find my way back to everything ‘Tamil’ that has had such a strong influence on who I am and the decisions I have made too.

Describe your thoughts while capturing your photographs.

My thoughts when it comes to creating my work really do differ and really depend on the type of work that I am creating. When I’m doing collaborative shoots, no matter the location, it’s just my thought process and creative thinking that is taken into consideration but also those around me, so in these types of shoots, there’s so much going but it’s incredible because we either all have really interesting and unique ideas/ perspective or something have very similar mindsets.

When it comes to doing some still life work and self-portraits, there’s just often only my vision involved so I would describe that process as quite easy and quick because at the moment I’m very focused on captured the ideas/ vision that I have in mind; whereas when I’m doing shoots with my mum (something that I started doing during the third lockdown in the UK), there’s this slight tension but in a really good way because my mum’s ideas have more a traditional take whereas mine have more fusion type perspective, but I feel that’s more because of our own lived experiences as Tamil women.

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