We Walk in Their Shadows: Gowri Savoor

March 17 - June 17, 2018

Our sense of place is linked to our sense of belonging. Close your eyes for a moment and think about a favorite place from childhood. Be swept into its intimate embrace, recalling the sights, sounds, smells. Place is part of our identity; place shapes our identity.

Gowri Savoor’s We Walk in Their Shadows is a meditation on the physical and cultural processes of migration and belonging. It explores the shifting external and internal geographies of physical space and psychic place. Savoor’s detailed, multilayered, and nuanced art explores the disjunctions between past and present, here and there, insider and outsider that an immigrant endures. The scale and scope of the installation allow the viewer to glimpse the disequilibrium of the journey.

— Mara Williams, Chief Curator

Through my practice, I am exploring our understanding of a sense of place. In this exhibition I draw on my personal experience as a first-generation immigrant. Cultural dislocation, loss of language, and the quest for home are all common within the first generation’s experience. Whether one arrives at a shore as a migrant or a refugee, the quest for home remains the same. The Murmuration series of wall sculptures speaks to our search for a sense belonging—for a land that is safe, at peace, and free of judgment.

The two-dimensional works are illustrated with a tapestry of topographic lines, roads, satellite views of the land, migration paths, buildings, and geologic features. The portraits pose the question “Do the lines on my face tell my story?” Some elements are drawn in pen and ink; images of memories and map fragments are trapped within layers of vellum, Mylar, and paper cut-outs. The resulting work documents both a physical geography and a collection of lost memories. Whether real or imagined, the terrain exists as an amalgamation of my own cultural journey: from Southern India to England and now to the United States.

— Gowri Savoor

This exhibit is presented in connection with The Confluence Project, an experiment in creative placemaking organized by Vermont Performance Lab and Windham Regional Commission.