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Creative Unions: Aditya Babbar

Aditya Babbar, On Going Home, 2018
Aditya Babbar, On Going Home, 2018

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Published date
19 October 2018

With our Creative Unions exhibition now open at Central Saint Martins, we take a closer look at the themes and works which comprise the show.

Starting with fixed, transitory and informational territories, the projects in the Shared Territories section of Creative Unions, explore human connections to place and community. They examine how a landscape, structure or institution can inform personal and collective identities – whether they be constructed, imposed or suddenly taken away. While they often return to their own origins and stories, these designers also reveal the universality of belonging. Encompassing sites of both conflict and comfort, these projects examine how territories are shaped by collaboration and cohabitation.

Aditya Babbar’s photographic series On Going Home is a personal investigation into the meaning of family and home. Mapping his family trajectory, he photographed his relatives in New Delhi, India where he was born and Markham, Canada, where his family later emigrated to. Here, he shares a photo essay with images taken from the series and extracts from the project foreword – a written collaboration between him and his mother Kavita Bela Babbar.

Aditya Babbar, On Going Home

It’s very hard to understand where you come from until you have left.

Whether or not we are always aware of it, a home is a home because it blurs the line between the self and the surroundings. It challenges the line we try to draw between who we are and where we are.

These are images of my own family and/or families I know.

They are confrontational, either through force or by will, the posture, the eye contact and the space between one another, gives voice to the feelings one has for the other.

The pictures are littered with evidence of what anthropologists call material culture – what people own, how they dress, the stuff they hang on their walls or pile up on their tables.

The details matter.

It’s with this stubbornness to show and see every detail, that I demand the viewer to take into consideration the entirety of the image.

“I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4am of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”

– Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem


Creative Unions is kindly supported by Louis Jadot Wines.