Silent Struggle I
28cm x 9cm x 5cm
Hanusha uses the salary slips earned by the plantation workers to create this series called the Silent Struggle. Plantation workers remain one of the most marginalized groups in the island, with their socio-economic indictors and living standards falling way below the national average. The labour force is mainly women, who pick the choicest leaves with their nimble fingers from the tea bush. In Untitled III, Hanusha infuses her personal memory, the image of her mother with tea basket toiling away on a steep mountain side tea plantation while being pregnant with twins.
‘One of my earliest childhood memories is of my twin brother and I weeping inconsolably as we watched our mother through the grimy window, heading out to pluck tea with a huge cane basket on her back…’ narrates Hanusha, talking about the ink sketch on the salary slip.
Explaining how she came to work with used tea bags, the artist explains, ‘When I became pregnant, I kept wondering how my mother had managed to continue plucking tea on the slippery hill slopes with a 20kg basket of tea leaves on her back and twins in her belly. Up to that point, I had been working on a series of installations with tea cups and strainers. I wanted to highlight how the suffering of tea pluckers seeps into every aspect of their lives and leaves an indelible stain on them and their offspring.’