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The Million Petaled Flower 

Of When You Were Here

Alka Dass

Alka Dass


In my artistic practice, I employ archival family portraits and photographs as vessels for time travel. These visual artifacts are not mere carriers of nostalgia; they are conduits for the recollection and rejuvenation of our past selves. As Campt writes, “Images hold traces of the lived experiences of those who were never meant to be documented.” Through my work, I breathe new life and identity into both the art piece and the observer.


The behaviour of the time is of utmost importance, and I feel that my work is about opening a conversation about a history that I am attached to and that a community of others like me don’t feel they know much about. And don’t see or feel represented enough in certain spaces, in a country that they call home.
 A common memory of power of a place, is what I am trying to convey. Connecting nostalgia of a history that is forgotten, the people and the conversations that were had in a time where there wasn’t space to exist freely. 


Reclamation is a recurring theme in my choice of materials. My art pays homage to the often-overlooked history of Indians in South Africa, weaving a new tapestry of visual inquiries. This tapestry seeks not only to heal the generational wounds of trauma but also to remember and honor the powerful forces that have guided and bound a people throughout the passage of time.

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