For the past five years, Tamil Archive Project (TAP) has been a space where Tamil and other racialized people have explored their histories and activated different forms of care for the community. In this series of works, “place your head on my shoulder,” “remember when,” and “grounding caresses,” TAP members ask what it means to live through survival and joy and answer with three exhibits. To leave a record for the times to come.
கடந்த ஐந்து ஆண்டுகளாக, தமிழ் ஆவண காப்பக திட்டம் (TAP) தமிழர்களும் பிற ஓரங்கட்டப்பட்ட இனத்தை சார்ந்த மக்களும் தங்களது வரலாறுகளை ஆராய்ந்து, சமூகத்திற்கு தேவையான பல்வேறு கவனிப்புகளை செயல்படுத்தும் ஒரு இடமாக இருக்கிறது. எங்கள் கூட்ட உறுப்பினர்கள் பிழைப்பு மற்றும் மகிழ்ச்சியை கடந்து வாழ்வது என்றால் என்னவென்று கேட்டுக்கொண்டு, அதற்கு பதில் சொல்லும் முறையில் மூன்று கண்காட்சிகளை வழங்குறார்கள். அனைத்தும் வரவிருக்கும் காலங்களுக்கு ஒரு பதிவை விட்டுச் செல்வதற்காக.
“place your head on my shoulder” (March 25-April 2): “During the early months of the pandemic, collective members Ambihai Akilan, Yasmeen Nematt Alla, Katherine Bell, Vidhya Elango, Tashnim Jerin, Manvinder Kaur, Madeleine Lychek, Vasuki Shanmuganathan and Brannavy Jeyasundaram asked how we can create moments of care such as sharing a meal or a gentle touch while confined to our spaces.”
“remember when” (April 3-17): “A series of televisions playing local Tamil artist interviews of Kuru Selvarajah and Maria-Saroja Ponnambalam, a visual letter from faraway Australia, memories of past birthday celebrations, and one screen that remains empty to remember what we lost to be here. Krish Dineshkumar, Keethan Krish, Gnanushan Krishnapillai, Sayan Sivanesan, Hashwina Vimal reflect on how trauma may bind us as Tamil people but perhaps you see yourself reflected in our joy and survival too?”
“grounding caresses” (April 18-May 5): “Kolams are intricate patterns drawn by women on the front entrance of their homes as a way to mark occasions such as Tamil New Year on April 14th. An ancient art form combining advanced drawing skills and mathematics, passed down through generations, and which take a lifetime to master. In the diaspora, they are a disrupted practice getting lost to the past. Each imperfect kolam by Aarati Akkapeddi, Ria Gopu, Alex Mahesvaran, Luxvna Uthayakumar, Vinutha Vasanthi Venkatesh takes over the gallery as an attempt to reconnect to ritual, reclaim public spaces, and celebrate matrilineal histories."
TAP is a migratory collective which prioritizes the participation of racialized communities with histories of marginalization. Our mandate is to take programming to the streets and neighbourhoods without clearly defined art spaces as well as provide interventions in existing ones. We wish to reimagine how art can be fluid in these areas through crossing physical and social barriers to participation in such spaces. We believe the archival function of our collective plays a key role in reminding artists and friends alike that there are legacies of resistance and art to draw from locally.
Bringing the exhibits into community engagement, TAP is hosting several events including: sharing your reflections on your favourite food via social media or email to be included in their anniversary zine; kolam drawing at home to be sent to 58 Lansdowne Ave. and TAP will send you back a collectible art piece; and outdoor kolam drawing with several artists in front of The Public.