A decade or so ago, I was visiting India after living in America for 14 years. My body by then was considerably inked. One afternoon while lunching with my ‘nani’ (maternal grandmom), an inked woman herself, I found myself desperately trying to cover my inked body. She knew. She caressed my ink, smiled gently, and said, “Sapna, you’re so old fashioned”.
“You know, when we first came as a human race, we all had our markings, we all looked like you. Somewhere down the line we were told to wear clothes instead, shoes instead. Somewhere down the line, someone decided that’s how we were supposed to look. I’m happy to see you going back to our roots, your roots.” And this entire time I was getting inked rebelling Indina culture and expectations of being and looking like an “Indian” woman!
This was the afternoon that changed me forever.
My documentary includes stories from India and Sindh (Pakistan) and mine illustrating their journey on my skin using art forms like Arjak(Sindhi) and Madhubani(India) to tell the story of a land carried on the shoulders of its people and not rooted in any soil.
My legs, symbolising our journey and my feet, the lack of our roots.