Gauri Gill. Imagination and Diasporic Identity
While studying at Stanford University, where Gauri Gill earned an MFA in 2002, she observed the Indian diaspora on the West Coast of the United States. She began documenting the experience of Indian immigrants who hold a nostalgia for their homeland and an aspiration for new opportunity in tenuous balance. In “The Americans” (2000–07) she focused on the relationship between immigrants and the material objects with which they surround themselves. “The material world—what they [immigrants] use to re-create their lives—becomes quite important,” explained Gill. “The act of immigration for me . . . is also an act of imagination.”1 Modeling the series after Robert Frank’s seminal photography book The Americans (1959), Gill took multiple solitary journeys between California and New York—stopping in rural Southern states like Tennessee, Mississippi, and South Carolina along the way—to make candid photographs of ordinary people but with a more expansive view of the global conditions of migration and diaspora.
Gauri Gill, in Bakirathi Mani, “Viewing South Asia, Seeing American: Gauri Gill’s ‘The Americans,’” American Quarterly 62, no. 1 (March 2010): 137–38. ↩︎