Mathushaa Sagthidas is an artist whose work focuses on family, fashion and Tamil representation
Mathushaa Sagthidas is an artist whose work focuses on family, fashion and Tamil representation.
How has your lived experience shaped your practice? My lived experience has shaped my practice in a way that I would say has been organic but also slightly unexpected. When I was younger, a lot of the work that I was creating was very much centred around my parents growing up during the Sri Lankan civil war and their history – being creative was a medium that gave me the chance to find a way to learn about my parents, experiences such as growing up and escaping wartime. Learning about these experience gave me this new found appreciation for my heritage and curiosity to learn but around five years ago I definitely did not expect to consider fashion/ styling as a way to express this new found appreciation. However through creating projects like this, I do feel like my creative projects and collaborations have evolved immensely to working beyond just with my family to various south Asian creatives, communities and platforms.
What are some of your biggest influences and motivations in your work? What issues are you passionate about working on? I would say that one of my biggest influences has been my family, especially my Amma (mum) whom I’ve had and still have endless conversations regarding our Tamil heritage and history and it’s importance within our own family and communities. I would this aspect of myself also plays into my motivations – growing up, I didn’t really see much of Tamil representation within westernised media – wether that’s speaking about the war or even culture; I felt that were a lot assumptions about our culture but personally even my identity as many people growing up didn’t really understand my heritage and that’s something I try to change within the work that I create as well as bring as much acknowledgment to our experiences regarding the war to educating those who don’t understand our culture, the beauty and importance of it and how’s it’s shaped us as people/ a community.
Can you tell us more about your recent your focus on fashion and the role this has in identity, community and celebration? My focus and even interest in fashion within my work, really started when I was studying fashion promotion during my foundation year – it was definitely something that I didn’t consider as a something that I would use personally express my creative and definitely something that has evolved from using fashion as a medium to understand my heritage and the significance/ representation that Tamil fashion has within our community to now also using a medium to create some really interesting and collaborative concepts. Fashion to me has been a great to really express, connect and celebrate various aspects of my identity, especially as a Tamil woman that also comes from quiet a female dominated family.
Where are you based and what excites you about the creative community around you? I am a London based all round creative and being London based means that I have and had an amazing amount of opportunities to be able to connect with various creatives and communities within and outside of the south Asian community. For me the best thing about has been the collaborations and the friendships that have come from it.