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NAGALAND: Borders, Boundaries, Belonging: Contested spaces and disputed narratives

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In 2011 I travelled to three of the ‘Seven Sister’ states of old Assam – Nagaland, Meghalaya and Assam. My journey to this remote and politically sensitive region, bordering Chinese occupied Tibet, Bangladesh and Myanmar, was prompted by my father’s experiences in the region during World War II in the Burma Campaign and brought into sharp relief ongoing themes in my work, the impact the past has on the present, the relationship of time and place, identity and memory and the transcultural experiences caused by war, colonization and migration. The drawings I made on location, the objects I collected and the notes and photographs I took formed the basis of the book work: NAGALAND: Borders, Boundaries, Belonging. When making the finished work the material quality of the object and the processes by which it was made become very important. The historical resonance of the medium and the time-consuming nature of the process reflect the embedding of form and idea, and paid homage to the material culture of the Naga hill tribes. The bookwork was hand-bound, handset and printed by letterpress. Some spreads were printed in six colours and the book took over a year to produce. I see my practice as echoing that of generations of Lady travellers: embracing the need to journey, be in a liminal space, to have a plan but not be afraid to divert from it. To be alone, take a sketchbook and make images is, for me, the definition of the itinerant illustrator; one who travels widely in geographic space, visual forms and ideas, in order to get lost and find the unlooked for.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Westminster

Publication date: 01 December 2015

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  • Illustration is a rapidly evolving field with an excitingly broad scope. Despite its cultural significance and rich history, illustration has rarely been subject to deep academic scrutiny. The Journal of Illustration provides an international forum for scholarly research and investigation of a range of cultural, political, philosophical, historical, and contemporary issues, in relation to illustration. The journal encourages new critical writing on illustration, associated visual communication, and the role of the illustrator as visualizer, thinker, and facilitator, within a wide variety of disciplines and professional contexts.

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