Adj. 1. local; indigenous 2. unadulterated or pure

Noun A person of Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi birth or descent


Desi Man originated during time spent in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India where Tabitha met shopkeepers and shoemakers, farmers and slaughterhouse workers. These encounters with working men have stayed with her and their images inform this and other works (Khusra and At the Slaughterhouse, Lahore).

Parallel influences include John Forbes Watson's The People of India (1868), an ethnological photographic survey of the castes and tribes of India. The empirical impulse to collect and classify completes the imperial acquisition of the colonial territory and Forbes Watson's text now makes for uncomfortable reading. Yet the accompanying photographs serve as direct, exhilarating connections to those people staring back at the camera.

Images of men and boys form assemblages that directly refer to museum collections. Clipped from ephemeral packaging materials they are grouped according to incidentals like beards, moustaches or headgear, not according to their geographic origins. Pinned like butterflies they are at once objectified and made precious. 




Desi Man

2005 - 11

packaging materials from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, box frames, pins

dimensions variable