Homeland Reverie – Ancestral tales from the first generation (Material Memory)

Year: 2023

Origin: Lancashire

Donated By: Aamina Desai

In the mid-20th Century my young grandparents migrated from their  small villages in Gujarat, West India across the seas to England, hoping  to raise their families in stability. Having never visited India myself, I never felt a strong connection to this homeland of ours, nor did I think too deeply about the lives they had before they left it behind to move here.

In more recent years, as I began to lose my grandparents to old age, I realised I needed to learn more before it was too late. I began to gather stories, anecdotes and hazy memories, building up a dream-like narrative of life in Gujarat in my mind. I chose to reflect each story through the memory of grandmothers, draped in their beautiful scarves and shawls brought from their home villages, and  honouring both my grandfathers’ laborious work in the cotton fields and textile factories to bring their families to a new country.  

The vibrant scarves capture their memories of village life before migration, serving as a physical reminder of the past to be worn in the present. My book illustrates the original stories, retelling their experiences and providing context to the imagery on the scarves.

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