The Tangled Web of Belonging: Nina Mangalanayagam

May 24, 2018 - June 24, 2018 - Whistler Gallery, DanceEast, Ipswich

The Tangled Web of Belonging reflects on the complexity arising when a mixed heritage subject is included in an image of whiteness.

This project brings together still lives, portraits and nature into a metaphorical mix that highlights the entanglement of narratives, myths, control and hybridity. It opens questions in relationship to ideas of contamination and how belonging is attained through the separation of things.

Mangalanayagam explains “As an artist of mixed heritage, in this body of work I address the confrontation that arises when attempting to find belonging within a Western society, with my white mother. What does it mean that my mother and I create a contradiction when sharing the same frame? Partly what I am a reminder of is that nobody is unquestionably white. My visible skin colour is a reminder of the mixing that took place, and continues to take place, since colonial times. It is a reminder that there is no origin, no certainty of belonging to rely on, and there never was. The ambivalence of hybridity creates a space for a critical discourse about which positions we choose and which positions are available to whom”.

Nina Mangalanayagam is a visual artist working with still and moving images. She has a Masters in Photography from the Royal College of Art and a PhD  from the University of Westminster. In her practice, Nina explores the themes of belonging and hybridity, often using a semi-autobiographical approach.


The Tangled Web of Belonging: Nina Mangalanayagam

Tangled Web of Belonging © Nina Mangalanayagam