Lost in Translation

Laser cut books, 2021

I use language as my medium to discover untranslatable words from different cultures to showcase the dysfunctions of communication that generate dissonance between image and text. The text, which when transformed into art, becomes an ornament. The importance of the dichotomy between destruction and creation resonates in the transition from the unused books to the digital era/technology (vice versa).


Language: Urdu
Pronunciation: Malal

Meaning: The feeling of grief often rooted in regret.


Language: Korean
Pronunciation: Noon-chi
Meaning: This term is used to describe the art of being in tune to someone else’s feelings, thoughts and emotions to properly gauge and react to a situation.

Language: Urdu
Pronunciation: Justuju
Meaning: To feel a sense of desire and quest or look for something lost. searching, seeking, search, inquiry, quest, scrutiny, examination, investigation.

Language: Tamil
Pronunciation: Chumma

Meaning: An urban Indian slang spoken by the youth, meaning ‘merely’ or ‘simply’, but much more than that. It is typical of Tanglish (Tamil influenced English), and is normally used in Southern Indian cities.

Language: Tamil
Pronunciation: Aiyo
Meaning: (in southern Indian and Sri Lankan English) used to express distress, regret, or grief. A plethora of emotions, all the way from surprise to regret to exclamation, you name it.

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