‘The Luggage’ deals with the tangled emotions I encountered when I had to pack my suitcase for migration to the USA. This work is an expression of my understanding of our relationship with our belongings.‘The Luggage’ is made of scrapped steel, aluminum, plastic, brass, and fabric.
I came to the USA from Dhaka, Bangladesh in the year of 2016. That year, my mother handed me a medium size suitcase and asked me to pack my belongings in it. While that empty suitcase, with it’s mouth open stared at me, waiting for me to fill it up, I stood in my room, looking back at it.
Belongings aren’t just stuff, they are memories, stories, gifts, fortune, possessions, identity. All my belongings, that are tied up with who I was were at question. I had to pick very carefully, what I would bring to a land all the way to the other side of the planet.
When I went through all my possessions, I remembered the stories about them, when, where and why I had owned them. Every moment, that empty suitcase felt heavier. I let go of my pencil box with tacky stickers taped on it, the white pages that had turned yellow over the years, story books that I have read over and over again and the books that I never got a chance to read. I let go of my tripod, my studio setup, my bed, my room, my favorite toys from childhood, my desk, my computer and a lifetime of things that were mine and in some sense, I belonged to them.
When I filled the suitcase, it felt lighter than when it was empty. However, my heart was heavy, when I crossed the border. I was leaving a life of not only my belongings but also the life of known alleyways, my mother tongue, my friends, and my lover to a life of absolute uncertainty.
In our metal sculpture class 2021, I tried to recreate ‘The Luggage’ in the memory of all that tangled emotions I went through while I was migrating. ‘The Luggage’ is made of scrapped steel, aluminum, plastic, brass, and fabric. It’s heavy in weight, like how that empty suitcase had felt. It has been exhibited in Schoolcraft's First Metal Sculpture Show.
"The Luggage" is currently exhibiting at The Hyatt Place Grand Rapids for ArtPrize 2022 (Sept 15th-Oct2nd)