Identity—a Human Crisis

Suva is a multi-disciplinary artist. In his creative process he combines music, visual art, performance and writing. Signal presents documentation of some of Suva’s recent pyrographies, i.e. wood burning artworks. Each piece is accompanied by a written introduction. In his work, Suva investigates the existence of ‘the Other’ in the space of ‘an-Other’. He describes himself as an outsider, as one who intermingles in a foreign land through performances and actions—more in the manner of a hyphen than a slash.


A recent issue-based work, ‘Mitätön—Immigrants’, brings forth the current socio-political climate of the West. In these times it is vital to raise awareness about general political issues, in order to create subjective conditions for understanding present problematics. In a given society there always exists individuals who have a sound understanding of social issues and political practices. However, it is a fact that we are usually immersed in the general atmosphere of a society. These problematic and pressing issues make themselves felt through this overall ambiance, regardless of how bitter they are to perceive. We cannot just blankly deny them. By using symbolic personifications and text, this work appeals to the crises that ‘the Other’ must go through.

‘Symbolic Denomination—an Iron’

The symbols used in this work comprise of domestic emblems that relate to particular belief systems, customs and denominations of child upbringing, forming a symbolic endorsement of humane attitudes towards nature.

‘Wavelength of Resonance’

In this recent work I have tried to convey the atmosphere, mood and environment that a musical instrument creates, to communicate the experience of listening to music. For me it is important to realise that I am the instrument, and not the other way around. Through my artistic expression I aim to depict deep emotional states: the wavelength of resonance!

‘Identity—a Human Crisis’

By using text and images, this work explores the concept of ‘identity’ as a crisis of the ‘human’. The text can be seen to be the essential creed of my artistic work. I have quoted it from my manuscript ‘Thoughts Perform Actions’, and pyro-scribed it onto a panel of wood. Below the text is a depiction of the Bridge of Living Roots, which is situated in my birthplace—Meghalaya—and is a wonder of the world, a symbol for how nature and people can work together.

The engraved text reads:

“We are being laid in the third space of identity, which we are yet to identify. Our identity is technically handled, bound in a culture conscious state. Our identity is layered with an armour of defense mechanism, implanted with the influence of lingual patent. Our identity is caged in a geographic locational sentiment, affected by the chromosome of climatic phenomena. Our identity is forced into the compact disc of labeled religions, where the atmosphere of spiritual consciousness is painstakingly contaminated with patterned norms. Our identity is costumed with the stuffed belief system and ostracized, out of the circles, when we become seekers. Our identity is dissected into the generalized forum of differences and woefully we get placed, when we discover our unified diversity. Our identity is numerically lined, being categorically sentenced by the invisible cell of paperworks. Our identity rests on the authorship of genetically shimmering tectonic plane, that which is lost in the voidistic space of zodiacs. Our identity is ruthlessly glorified within the over-emphasized nature of gendered domains. Our identity is prized in the hegemonic hierarchy of flesh and blood. Our identity is disposed to the Othering of our self and detonated at the border of confrontation coated with illusion. Our identity is no longer beneficial, unless we recognize the soul entity which enriches in being Human”

‘The Odyssey from the Left’

Here we are traversing through the tiny polka dot, amidst the vast bodies of existence; we lurk around differences that haunt our inventive, convincing theories. Yet we hold onto the vanity of our tainted position, elevating the right, and discarding what is left behind!

My idea is to present the left hand as a welcoming gesture. It relates to one of my childhood memories. My left hand was tied to the wall as a toddler, and I was given food only to my right hand. The point was to make me perceive myself as a right-handed being! If it was not for a mystic, I would have been entrapped in the right-handed way of thinking and doing! Whatever I have come across as a human being, it has been because of the mystic’s involvement. His prophecy was that I will never become a “stay at home” person, which would have been more usual in the East. Perhaps it is true that for a long time, I have been wandering away from the thing called ‘home’.

‘The Self Portrait’

Compared to earlier self-portraits executed with watercolors and other mediums, this piece was quite an experience. Pyrography is commonly used for craft-oriented pieces, but it can also be explored in artworks that are related to concepts and theories. The character of burning wood with wire appears to be similar to making woodcuts. The difference is that I am burning the surface of the wood—through this process one is drawing, painting and carving at the same time.

PHOTO: Tatu Liimatainen

PHOTO: Tatu Liimatainen

PHOTO: Tatu Liimatainen

PHOTO: Erik Torpström

PHOTO: Lauri Laukkanen

PHOTO: Lauri Laukkanen