I have only one language; it is not mine

Mithu Sen2014

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Mumbai, India

Mithu Sen presents a multi-media installation which engages with the idea of radical hospitality, exploring the limitations of language and the possibility of dialogue outside it. Sen spent several days at a home for minor female orphans who were victims of abuse. She entered their world and lived their life in Kerala, interacting with the children as their alter-identity ‘Mago’- an apparently homeless person who speaks gibberish, does not understand the concept of time and is in a state of transit between two unknown places. During this unscripted performance, Sen sought to surrender herself to this group of disenfranchised children who became her host during the days the performance unfolded. Sen constructed a fiction that attempts to understand the complexity of domestic and family relationships.

The performance was documented on video by the artist herself and the children who intermittently took the camera into their own hands. Reflecting on the work, Sen believes “Language imposes a strange and alien logic that tells us not to smell poetry, hear shadows or taste lights. Escaping this rigid framework, this project seeks not only to locate communication outside the narrow alleys of comprehension, but also tries to envisage dialogue in ways that cannot be read or heard.”

The work was featured as part of the exhibition 'Asymmetrical Objects', curated by Tasneem Zakaria Mehta and co-curated by Himanshu Kadam. The exhibition presented the works of ten contemporary artists whose practice includes an interest in nature and science or consumption and degradation as process and product, to respond to these ideas and to explore the much-debated Age of the Anthropocene and its impact on the environment and the effects on biodiversity.


  • Title: I have only one language; it is not mine
  • Creator: Mithu Sen
  • Date Created: 2014
  • Location: 19th Century Paintings Gallery
  • Type: Video installation
  • Material: Video installation (from a performance-based project), Duration:as long as you want to watch

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