Always a Migrant

Poras Dhakan
February 27, 2023
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This work expresses the taut fragility of existence as perpetually temporary. My family and I are 'Non-Resident Indians' or NRIs, having lived in the UAE since 1989. Our right to remain in the UAE hangs on a temporary balance despite all these years. At the end of each limited residency permit, we must justify the right to remain, or we are given 30 days' notice to leave. Permanent rights are impossible for most. My work focuses on the actual and perceived sense of tension and unease as an Indian migrant. Darker-skinned people find their skin lightened in studio portraits, perhaps in a bid to emulate in the hopes of integrating. Always a migrant, never an immigrant. The resulting images are printed on salted paper using salt collected from the Arabian Sea, a body of water which connects India and the UAE, in an attempt to bridge the gap created by migration.

Poras is an artist, Fairtrade goldsmith and a qualified New York attorney. He was born in India and spent his formative years in Jordan, the UAE and the UK. Poras is passionate about analogue photography and alternative printing processes. He is also an advocate for ethical jewellery making, including the use of Fairtrade and recycled metals. He often merges photography with jewellery-making to create wearable works of art. Poras exhibited his pendants during Dubai Design Week 2019 as a part of Tashkeel Studio's Tanween program. Poras' work has been shown at the Dubai Design Week (Tashkeel, 2019), the Belfast Exposed Gallery (2022, A Trace of Ownership, Ulster Graduate Show), and he has hosted several workshops on photography and jewellery making, including an artist takeover at Dubai Expo2020, Belfast Exposed Gallery, at Tashkeel Studios and at the Sharjah Art Foundation. Poras has an MFA in Photography from the University of Ulster. He is a member of Tashkeel Studio in Dubai.
Poras Dhakan
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