Publication Details

Khorana, S. (2009). 'Diasporic art: writing/visualising back and writing/visualising into being', in T. Flew (Eds.), Refereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communications Association Annual Conference, Brisbane, July 8-10 (pp. 453-465). Canberra, ACT: Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA).

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ANZCA Annual Conference


The recent critical and popular acclaim won by films like Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire and Deepa Mehta's Water is putting the creative works of diasporic artists in general, and South Asian diasporic artists in particular on the world map. This interest in creativity that is inspired by the homeland, but not necessarily produced in the culture of origin is of pressing significance in an era torn between globalisation and regionalism. Does the diasporic hyphen, through its cultural processes and products, bridge the gap between cosmopolitan and vernacular identities? This paper, which is an introduction to a larger project on diasporic creativity, attempts to understand the genesis of diasporic art by theorising diasporic identity using Gregory Ulmer's concept of 'heuretics', or the invention of a new poetics that is both theoretical and experiential. The creative and representative practices of diasporans then, are part of the postcolonial project of writing/visualising back to colonial discourse. These practices also perform the important task of writing/visualising into being a diasporic subjectivity that is rendered ambivalent in most academic and mainstream writing about diaspora. The paper will be preceded by a short excerpt from the author's twenty-minute documentary film about the diasporic experiences of a heterogeneous group of Indians settled in South Australia.