How did the colonial gaze represent “Indians” – both those named Indians by Columbus and those who inhabited the Indian subcontinent? That’s the question that Annu Palakunnathu Matthew explores in a series of photos in which she – an Indian American – takes on the poses of colonial era American Indians.

The idea emerged in part because of her accent. Matthew was born in England, moved to India after 10 years, and is now in the United States.

“People can’t place where [my accent] is from,” she wrote in an email to “In the United States, people often ask me ‘What am I?’ and if I say Indian, I often have to clarify that I am an Indian from India and not a Native American.”

Her show plays on this confusion, and also on the perceptions of those not in the majority community.

You can take a look at some of her work here.


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