mfa thesis

What’s left of them-What’s left of us? 

“Lost in transit" is the sense of loss that we experience when our heritage and stories are passed down to us. Like a game of Chinese Whispers, every generation loses a little of its past- which gets left behind. We do not have, in all originality, what the previous generation had. As we move through time, lived experiences change. We will never know what it felt like to live in a medieval kingdom, or to live through the renaissance, or to sit in the Egyptian sun watching the pyramids in construction. We will only ever have their echoes in pictures, stories and ruins. The only common thread is that all generations experience this loss, of the stories and lived experiences left behind and vanished in time. The loss stretches wider with every passing day.

My proposed body of work aims to highlight this sense of loss that occurs during transit. Mine is a series of conceptual abstract jewelry/sculpture that investigates the remains of our international heritage, stories, and relics.

By manipulating the forms, scale and text I would like to illustrate the gaps in this generation, and of generations before ours. This is because subconsciously, we let go of certain subjects which harms how well we can record and preserve our lives. There are even things from yesterday that we forgot today and will never remember again. Through my work I want to convey this experience, which is very personal to me, yet very subjective to the viewers.


‘Bindu’ means point, from which Bindi is derived. Bindi is worn by Hindu women on their foreheads where it centers all the chakras of our body; it is said to align one’s mind and exudes positivity. The first piece of the collection represents the individual identities coming together and concentrating their entire energy to a point of focus. 


Dhundh (dh-uh-nd-uh) meaning ‘fog’, and dhundh (dh-oo-nd-dh) meaning

‘to find’, is a wordplay. 

The piece here talks about how I only know so many people of my family - my culture - the only ones that I’ve known personally. All the information that I have about everybody else is through the stories and the lores that I’ve heard about them. This says how I only have a foggy idea about all of these people who have been a part of my culture and have built it. How I will never know about my culture as much and as well as these foggy images of the people that were. This will never stop happening and the history of my culture will only keep fading away with time, the people farther away getting foggier and foggier.


Chitthi in english means ‘letter’.  This piece is a representation of how with every passing generation, parts of a culture keep getting torn away and are lost somewhere in transit. What gets passed down then is a little torn from here and there, a little burnt at the edges, but is still our own culture.

What still holds on to this culture are the frail, yet strong enough threads of the feeling of belonging and knowing that all the generations have in them.


Parchhaayi, meaning ‘shadow’. Just as a thumbprint is unique in itself, our 

cultures are unique, too. It is these unique cultures that bring us together in a way nothing else can. There’s a shadow of it that we have around us, this air of culture, that gives us our uniqueness, but also somehow pushes us a little more towards togetherness. Where we come from, our cultures, are as much a part of our anatomies as are thumbprints, and make us distinguished at the same time.


Amulya meaning ‘priceless’. Precious stones aren’t the only things that carry legacies in them. Anything that has been of importance in one’s culture, 

automatically becomes precious, more precious than any diamonds or rubies. Be it a piece of clothing, a silver coin or even something as simple as a little marble box.

The monetary value of it doesn’t compare to the real value it holds in one’s culture. It is a family heirloom, not just any other object, and that is what carries the legacy of one’s culture.


Virasat in english means ‘inheritance’.  This piece represents that however zany or out of the ordinary one’s culture might be, it has always been and always will be unique and a thing of beauty. A culture is an amalgamation of stories, people, beliefs, food, many art forms and emotions. One should always wear their 

culture proudly, accept its half-bakedness and its flaws as simply as one does with themselves. One musn’t abandon it just because they think that their 

culture is uncool, or weird.


Dhaaga, meaning ‘thread’, is a portrayal of how with every new generation 

coming in the world, a culture is taken forward. The thread keeps getting longer and longer, with the culture’s information being passed down, which of course has had its trimmings and addition of flounces along the years.

However, the core of the culture still gets passed down and will be to the next many generations.

It is like a Banyan tree, growing in all directions, with so many 

different roots hanging off of it, but all being birth from the one tree trunk.


Chhaap means an imprint. The piece here mirrors the thought that even though a lot of information is lost in this game of Chinese Whispers, there still is some left of it. There’s a chhaap of culture, of the ones before us in our lives which we shouldn’t ignore. We mustn’t let our curiosities die down, and try to know as much as we can about our culture and its tradition.

We must always know where our roots lie, learn the arts that have been part of our culture. We must hold on to whatever is left of our cultures while we still have the option of doing so.


Aahat means faint sounds. All that I have today are these faint whispers of the generations before me. I have them in and around me - what they were, what they were meant to be and whatnot - everything in whispers. 

Photo Credits

Corinne Catania


Komal Ashfaq


 © 2021 Drishti Bhandari/ drishti.d.bhandari@gmail.com

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