Artwork title: Haath / Haathi

Haath / Haathi: The Ganesha in the room 

Haath is the Hindi word for hand and Haathi the Hindi word for elephant. A Sydney Blog in 2020 posted ‘An urban myth continues to this day that buried in this area are the remains of an elephant named Princess Alice’. Such blogs have been documenting and writing about elephants often imported from Asia and Africa during colonisation, that were buried under the mounds of land that is known as Sydney Park today. What might be speculative fiction becomes a gateway to explore culture, history, companion species and belonging within this piece. Elephants are also animals that mourn their dead and are deeply sentimental, to mourn these supposedly buried elephants of a forgotten past, the artist moves through the mounds of Sydney Park – mimicking the trunk of the elephants with her hands. Often just moving through the space, breathing in the loss and connection to her own displacement of land and country, having moved to Sydney from Mumbai, India. The mythology of the Hindu God Ganesha thus also intervenes and bridges together these worlds of earth and heaven, human and animal.

Artwork title: All You Who Sleep Tonight

All You Who Sleep Tonight by Vikram Seth - 'All you who sleep tonight/ Far from the ones you love,/ No hand to left or right / And emptiness above— / Know that you aren't alone./ The whole world shares your tears, /Some for two nights or one, /And some for all their years. ' This work attempts to reimagine the connection to the land and explore how the artist’s body imagines homelands travelling temporally and spatially across the fuzzy borders of the subconscious through the playground of dreams. The soundscape is framed through excerpts of audio dream recordings the artist began documenting ever since they moved to Gadigal Land in 2022. The viewer is invited into a world of buried stories, quiet yearnings, and longings for what is left behind with the reality of an identity formed at junctions of crossed borders. Indian author and poet Vikram Seth’s Poem ‘All You Who Sleep Tonight’ becomes the title of the work alluding to the loneliness and emptiness one encounters when falling asleep far from the people and places they may call home. That ache is woven into the isolated movements that form a tapestry of the conscious and subconscious. The artist treads this new landscape as a stranger, a guest, a lone ranger- falling in and out of a lulled state of make-believe.

Aarushi Zarthoshtimanesh (she/ her, b. 2000) is a passionate artist, student, writer, and mango lover. She identifies as an Indian-born queer woman, raised in the hustle and bustle of the city of Mumbai, India. But, her great-grandparents originally lived and fled from Iran, attempting to escape the early Mughal invasions, finding themselves displaced on the shores of western India. Aarushi’s practice now thrives on Bidjigal and Gadigal land, where through the poetics of painting, installation, performance and moving image she wishes to materialise and spatialise the felt reality of displacement and re-examine what shapes and forms our social identities – beyond borders and binaries.

Acknowledgement of Country

UNSW School of Art & Design stands on an important place of learning and exchange first occupied by the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples.

We acknowledge the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the land that our students and staff share, create and operate on. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend this respect to all First Nations peoples across Australia. Sovereignty has never been ceded.