Born to two Indian parents in a nowhereland beyond South Croydon, I was frequently told by nationalist skinheads to “go back where you came from”.
How far back should I have gone? Persia? Africa? Antarctica? My parents reassured me, privately, that my blood came from the antique caste of Kshatriya kings and warriors. I was guaranteed a noble groom, or at least a university-educated scientist. Caste prejudice, long outlawed by the Indian government, persists in modern homes. On websites like Shaadi.com, ‘untouchable’ Dalit brides languish on the shelf.
As Lisa Jenkins writes of her Hong Kong godmothers, belonging, thankfully, goes beyond blood. Salina Thind, make-up artist to Anita Rani and POC models, urges us to celebrate non-white eyes, noses and skins. Yet how to escape the bondage of blood, when we rarely see it? Menstrual blood is dirty; Facebook posts of newborns rarely display our first, splattered entry to the world. And, as Emma Watts, facing more surgery for endometriosis, writes, the bodies of women who choose not to bear children are considered simply less valuable.
The bloody legs and stitched ovoids of artist & endometriosis survivor Ellie Kammer are, therefore, valuable trophies against the society’s bloody oppressions. Our resident DJ Caoimhe Lavelle reveals her synth-driven, psychedelic playlist from her recent set in an Irish haunted abbey. Groove, while losing yourself in the above pastel by Joanna Kirk, fizzing with mysterious biology. Come, reclaim blood, with us!
Soma Ghosh, Editor
Painting by Joanna Kirk, represented by Blain|Southern.