Sarah Dattani Tucker, Aartthie Mahakuperan, Maeve Miro Bowman
Photographer and Director Sarah Dattani Tucker and Aartthie Mahakuperan collaborate on Layers, a series exploring the ways in which people’s environments affect their identities. The project seeks to question how external presentation and perception may differ from inner consciousness and being.
It’s a visual study in how one’s internal world, especially those of mixed heritage, can differ from the boxes that society seeks to put them in. As layers of clothes may be removed to reveal the body, and beyond that even the spiritual, how can we remove the effects of the world’s gaze on our inner selves? Who are we when no one else is looking? How can we strip away the labels that are layered upon us by others?
This becomes a more intricate process when people have more than one heritage to alchemize within themselves. What if how others perceive us is not how we perceive ourselves?
The real work of self expression is the practice of embodying our true selves, without trying to conform to identities that people expect of us. Layers is an example of the tension between the internal and the external and the attempt to harmonize it. By shedding the labels and contracts that no longer serve us, the authentic inner self has a chance to exist beyond our skin.
“I’ve always viewed fashion as pieces of wearable art able to convey layers of narrative and meaning, both conscious and subconscious. I decided to start with a look that felt like a second skin, to capture one’s core. From there I built with textures, print & shapes to represent the many layers of experiences that not only shape us both internally but shape the identities we communicate to the wider world. Fashion can feel like a suit of armour that has the ability to strengthen us.” – Aarthie Mahakuperan