Nina Mangalanayagam

The tangled web of belonging

Exhibition Info

The tangled web of belonging

The tangled web of belonging reflects on the complexity arising when a mixed heritage subject is included in an image of whiteness. This project brings together still lives, portraits and nature into a metaphorical mix that highlights the entanglement of narratives, myths, control and hybridity. It opens questions in relationship to ideas of contamination and how belonging is attained through the separation of things.

As an artist of mixed heritage, in this body of work I address the confrontation that arises when attempting to find belonging within a Western society, with my white mother. What does it mean that my mother and I create a contradiction when sharing the same frame? Partly what I am a reminder of is that nobody is unquestionably white. My visible skin colour is a reminder of the mixing that took place, and continues to take place, since colonial times. It is a reminder that there is no origin, no certainty of belonging to rely on, and there never was. The ambivalence of hybridity creates a space for a critical discourse about which positions we choose and which positions are available to whom.

View photos

Thurs 20 Sept - Sat 20 Oct
Old Tax Office Building
South Esplanade
Open all week
10am - 4pm

View map


Nina Mangalanayagam

Photo of Nina Mangalanayagam

Nina is a fine artist working with still and moving images and text. She explores themes of belonging, multiple heritages and hybridity, often using a semiautobiographical approach. She has a PhD by practice from Westminster University and an MA from the Royal College of Art, UK, and lectures in the UK and Scandinavia.

Visit website