We are pleased to present this special issue on artistic and literary portrayals of Anglo-Indians. We welcome as the first article in this issue, that of UK based artist of Anglo-Indian heritage, Michelle Olivier, who reflects critically upon her own artistic practice in relation to her identity as an Anglo-Indian in the diaspora. Then we turn to New Zealand based Anglo-Indian fiction writer, Keith Butler, as he contextualises and interprets a painting by the late Anglo-Indian artist Leslie Morgan. Finally, we offer a book review of Daman Singh’s latest novel, Kitty’s War, by acclaimed fiction and travel writers Colleen and Hugh Gantzer who are based in Mussoorie. The strand running through all three pieces is the question of how Anglo-Indian identity is experienced both in India and the diaspora, and how it is portrayed by Anglo-Indians themselves and by others in artistic form.
In Michelle Olivier’s article she explores three themes which have surfaced and recurred in her art practice: the representation of mixed-race people, the presence of the colonial past in the neo-colonial present, and how she has come to understand her own family history. She reflects upon her two key methodological practices as an artist: academic reading, and practice-based research that involves developing ideas and making art in the studio. She focuses her discussion on how these activities have complemented and extended pre-existing knowledge of her Anglo-Indian heritage. Her work intends to open a critical dialogue with others about the representation of mixed-race people.
In the second article of this issue, Keith Butler analyses the painting Misidentification, which is part of the series Anglo-Indians sail into White Australia, by an Anglo-Indian artist, the late Leslie Morgan, who artistically reimagines Anglo-Indian immigration into Australia. Butler’s article draws upon an interview with Morgan prior to his demise. The transcribed interview is included as an appendix.
The Gantzers’ review article offers a critical analysis of Kitty’s War, by novelist Daman Singh. Kitty’s War takes place during the Second World War in India and, with an Anglo-Indian female protagonist, offers a representation of Anglo-Indian life during the late colonial period.
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