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  • Manju Sadarangani

Ancestors I

Ancestors I

20” x 20”

Acrylic on canvas.

June 2023

I completed this piece on Father’s Day, which felt extremely apt given where are my meditation and journeys have taken me lately. I find myself connecting very deeply with the idea of my ancestors, known and unknown.

I was having a conversation with one of my cousins and realised I knew so little about the personalities of my grandparents or their relationships with their siblings, or their parents. If you were to ask me to draw out a family tree, I would have a really hard time without enlisting my older cousins.

Part of that is because our family history was probably disjointed by migration and the partition of India. Part of that is just the reality of how human life is catalogued and remembered.

Reading Mark Wolynn, I remember being startled by the fact that the precursor cells of the sperm I developed from were present in my father when he was a fetus in his mother’s womb. In my earliest biological form as an unfertilised egg, I already shared a cellular environment with my mother and grandmother. I wonder how much of the thing we think of us - our likes and dislikes, our personalities and peccadilloes, our patterns - come from people we have never met. It fills me with so much curiosity and wonder.

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