My interest in new media interactions centres on the ability of an interactive installation to respond or react to audiences as individuals, to create mirrored interactions of the real world – revealing things about ourselves, society, community and our place within it, for better or worse. Drawing on a family history of migration across three continents in four generations, against a backdrop of dwindling colonial empire, my work provokes questions around issues of de/coloniality, intersectionality and identity construction. I often work with existing products and objects imbued with meaning or history, and the role they play in societal structures. Textures, layers and abstraction are prevalent throughout my work as a means to convey emotion and to create juxtaposition. Ambiguity is a tool, used to create tension or to entice. In times of uncertainty, a lack of clarity causes anxiety, revealing actions not based on reality, but on emotion, often manifesting in repeated cycles in history.
Decoloniality in the arts refers to practices and strategies aimed at dismantling the legacies of colonialism and the ways coloniality continue to permeate contemporary life and institutions. Coloniality refers to the invisible ways colonialism continues to shape contemporary society, its institutions, political structures, economic systems, cultural production, and social relationships. It affects everything from the language we use to describe the world, to the ways in which we understand history and identity, to the distribution of power and resources in society. As such, decoloniality strategies might involve critiquing dominant cultural narratives and representations, challenging oppressive power structures, amplifying marginalized voices and experiences, and creating new spaces for dialogue and engagement that prioritize community-building and collaboration.
South Asian artists often use their work to critique the legacies of colonialism and imperialism, specific to South Asia and its diaspora. This may involve exploring the ways in which colonialism and imperialism have shaped contemporary South Asian identity and experience across the globe, including the effects of cultural erasure, forced migration, and ongoing economic exploitation.
My work often explores the intersections of race, gender, and diasporic experience, the ways these experiences are shaped by global power dynamics, histories of colonialism and imperialism, and the widening East-West divide — sometimes in contemporary parallels, sometimes as more abstract sci-fi parallels. As an Indo-Caribbean Canadian female artist, my work is deeply informed by my experiences living at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities. I use my creative practice to reconstruct obscure histories, to challenge or question dominant narratives and power structures that perpetuate inequality and exclusion of those who were historically silenced or overlooked.
The Joss Paper series (2009/2022) is an example of decolonial exploration. Altered Canadian passports, collaged with currency from the global south (relative to the travel in each passport), elicits a broad range of meanings — contemporary globalization, to post-coloniality, and eliciting affective nationalism. A Decade’s Insomnia (2010), a series of ten mixed media works on paper, explores trauma dreamstates. Saturday Mornings (2012), a short experimental video work using open-sourced cartoons from the 40s, emulates the mind as it attempts to reconcile alternate realities.
Janine Ramlochan is an Indo-Caribbean Canadian multimedia artist and writer exploring issues of identity construction, intersectionality and de/coloniality. Her work has been shown in film festival screenings, alternative venues, gallery exhibitions, conferences/ symposiums and cultural events. In 2015, she was commissioned by the City of Mississauga (a Toronto-satellite city) to mount an installation for the Pan Am & ParaPan Am Games as part of a 22-day city-wide art intervention. Other exhibitions include the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival (2014), The Carnival Project, New York (2014), and Sarai 09: Projections, New Delhi (2013). Primarily focused on assemblage, installation and short experimental film works, recent forays into new media include an interactive video installation and short-form multimedia narrative projects anchored in virtual space.
Janine draws on a background in strategic planning where she bridged conceptual ideas with an interest in human behaviour, cultural dynamics and media consumption. She has worked with ad agencies (across Omnicom, WPP, Interpublic, Publicis Groupe, Dentsu + boutique independents) in New York, Bangkok, Toronto and Paris on numerous local and international brands. She has taught classes at Centennial College (Toronto) and Mahidol University (Bangkok), and spent extended durations on education or independent research projects in Hobart (Australia), Kingston (Jamaica), and New Delhi (India). She recently sat on juries for the Ontario Arts Council (2016), the Toronto Arthouse Film Festival (2017) and the Independent Production Fund - Web Series (2019) in Canada.