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Mithu Sen Profile Photo 01.jpg
Mithu Sen Profile Photo 01.jpg


Mithu’s conceptual practice rests on a varied set of surfaces, materials, and processes incorporating drawing, poetry, social media, instructional exchanges, and performance. Her work demonstrates how language and social conventions can restrict our capacity of expression while experimenting with their limitations to explore new realms of experience and representations.

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Video I have only one language; it is not mine (2014)

In her multi-media installation, ‘I have only one language; it is not mine’ (2014), Mithu engages with the idea of radical hospitality in which guests and hosts change places. For the project, Mithu spent several days at a home for socially marginalised female orphans and victims of sexual and emotional abuse in Kerala. Living with them in their ‘home’, the artist takes on the alter-identity of Mago (mother in Bengali) and interacts with the children.  For the performance, she assumes the identity of an

orphan herself.

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Mithu Sen Video Installation View 01.jpg
Mithu Sen Video Installation View 02.JPG
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Stills from the video I have only one language; it is not mine (2014)

In the process, she explores the limitations of language and the possibility of other forms of dialogue such as gestures and gibberish as performative conduits of communication. Mithu explains that ‘Language imposes a strange and alien logic that tells us not to smell poetry, hear shadows or taste lights. Escaping this rigid framework, this project seeks not only to locate communication outside the narrow alleys of comprehension but also tries to envisage dialogue in a way that cannot be read, heard, or understood’.

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Mithu Sen Video Still 01.jpg
Mithu Sen Video Still 02.jpg

Stills from the video I have only one language; it is not mine (2014)

Linguistic alienation  becomes the artist’s response to her own marginality as a woman in a colorist society. Her performative acts through gesture and gibberish is an act of solidarity with the young girls as much as it is about challenging gendered inequalities. Performed disability and (non)language here open up the interstices of intersectionality. 


In a state of transit between two unknown places - home and language - Mithu also calls into question the concept of time. The strategy affords new interventions in the remembering and reiteration of places and times through their gendered positions in society  - intangible memories and experiences captured in performance space.

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