Swapnaa Tamhane sees the action of drawing as a process of translation.
“I think about the hand as a translator,” she says.
“The hand is the communicator between what I look at and what goes onto a page. I consider that an act of translation.”
Her artwork plays with the language of drawing to question the cultural role of the translator and the ownership of that language.
“The role of the translator is incredibly difficult. My work is really trying to articulate what that means. It’s between destabilizing what an original is and an articulation of one’s own language as experienced in images.”
Considering the process of how a translator moves from the original text to a translation is key to her practice. It connects her process to a postcolonial perspective that enables her to bring politics, economics, and colonial history into her artwork.