My personal journeys through the cycles of loss, grief, and healing over the past few years have found their way into my paintings, with more subdued colours influencing my palette. Prominent among all my losses has been the realization that my home, the way in which I have conjured it in my memory over the past two decades and for which I have felt nostalgic, no longer exists. This series of paintings depict my strong and deep roots in a home that is being washed away while I attempt to find my way forward. The series represent the uncertainty of a life in diaspora against rigid structures, of struggles of longing and grieving for lost places and times to which there is no return, of chasing shadows and a yearning to find new sites of belonging.
Hiraeth, as Robert Rife defines it, is “a homesickness for a home to which one can never return. It is the unrequited hope that produces ever more unanswered longing.” Rumi beautifully captures the roots of this longing in the Song of the Reed in the Masnavi: “Anyone pulled from a source longs to go back.” That is how Sohrab finds himself searching for the home of the friend and recognizes that it is the innocence of childhood that can provide the directions.