Mute Tongue ( Who am I, without Exile?), 2019
glazed porcelain, variable sizes
When we listen to conversations on the topic of migration, usually what is mentioned are the reasons why people are forced to flee their homes and what it means for the country in which they find refuge. Ishita Chakraborty’s work asks us instead to listen to the voice of Farid, an Afghan national and asylum seeker in Switzerland, and to the itinerary of his migration.
He shares his personal experience of what it means to leave everything behind and start a new life in an unknown country and a different culture.
Mute Tongue gives the oral history of migration a visual form. The one-minute audio recording of Farid narrating his experience of fleeing Balochistan by crossing the Mediterranean and making his way to Europe is mounted on the wall as a ceramic audio graph. The blue sound waves remind the viewer of the waves in the Mediterranean as well as representing the myriad ghostly voices of invisible victims that disappeared while crossing the sea.
The works from the series Mute Tongue tell the stories of both fragile identities that are confronted with their trauma and the image projected on those identities by society. By representing the audio track in ceramic Ishita Chakraborty ensures that the politically and historically silenced voices of migrants are constantly in motion, permanently spoken, never silenced.