8 Annas: Are You Thinking What We’re Thinking?

The process of making this gave me time to consider my aunties’ uncertain predicament and vulnerability immediately after Indian independence. The Windrush scandal broke at around the same time and triggered personal memories: Auntie Iris 4th from the left, is my dad’s cousin and he married her to save her from deportation after her English fiancé died. The title references the 2005 Conservative Party election manifesto, intended by them to signal their support for stricter immigration controls.

The paradise garden they stand in represents pleasure, abundance, and in the Judeo-Christian tradition, temptation, sin, and danger. The pink-red form in the upper left of the composition stands again for Eve’s apple and the traditional double standards applied to Anglo-Indian women, which associate their sexuality with sin.

By imitating the iconography of many religions, (including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism), which depicts holy or noble figures with haloes, 8 Annas gives each auntie a golden corona, asserting their heroic status.