Collection: Alka Dass

'I never wanted to build a body of work, but preserve these, Our bodies, breathing and unaccounted for, inside the work.’
-except from ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ by Ocean Vuong


My photographic prints look at the problematic stance of the history and culture of Desi South Africans that is rarely told and seemingly forgotten. Remembering a community of people, these are the generations of Indian Indentured labourers who were brought to South Africa.
The choice of using already pre-existing photographs, already existing objects is an acknowledgement that one marks time through objects, they are tangible accessories of memory.
The behaviour of the time is of utmost importance, and I feel that my work is about opening up a conversation about a history that I am attached to, and that a community of others like me don’t feel they know much about. And don’t see or feel represented enough in certain spaces, in a country that they call home.
A common memory of power of a place, is what I am trying to convey. Connecting nostalgia of a history that is forgotten, the people and the conversations that were had in a time where there wasn’t space to exist freely.
I embed the archival photographs with dried flowers. The process of drying and pressing these flowers till they become completely brittle, dry and fragile is another act of archiving. The language and symbols of the flowers have hidden messages that connect with the figures in the images. Most of the flowers I use are grown and are from my nani’s (grandmother’s) garden.

10 products
  • The look you gave me made flowers grow in my...
    The look you gave me made flowers grow in my...
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    Alka Dass
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    R 500.00
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  • Buttery spring flowers wither with time
    Buttery spring flowers wither with time
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    Alka Dass
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  • In full bloom
    In full bloom
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    Alka Dass
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  • Nothing moves but the shifting tides of salt in your body
    Nothing moves but the shifting tides of salt in your body
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    Alka Dass
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  • No one on corner had swagger like us
    No one on corner had swagger like us
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    Alka Dass
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  • Our hands empty, except for our hands
    Our hands empty, except for our hands
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    Alka Dass
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  • Here comes the sun
    Here comes the sun
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    Alka Dass
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  • Beach Day
    Beach Day
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    Alka Dass
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  • Head in the Flowers
    Head in the Flowers
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    Alka Dass
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  • Little Blossoms
    Little Blossoms
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    Alka Dass
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    R 500.00
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