Rosell Flatley has an alter ego: “Indai” is a Filipina woman who is portrayed as a submissive, home-bound, Western stereotyped ideal, but her presence disturbs this preconception, ruffling ideals and forcing pertinent questions about forced migration, cultural identity, the female form and mental health.
inSIGHT Lab spoke to Rosell and asked her about Indai:
“Indai was created three years ago, in response to a project by a male artist who was depicting the ugliness of sex tourism in the Philippines. This man was not from the Philippines and his work was overly sexualising women. This didn’t sit well with me, but rather than get mad I created Indai. She reflects the ugliness of the bride trade and the overt sexualisation of any south-east Asian country, the guilt and the sense of duty that is draped over Filipina women.”
At the age of 10, Rosell discovered that her mother was actually her grandmother, her aunty was her mother and her cousin was her brother. At the same time, she discovered she was leaving the Philippines and moving to Australia with her mother, whom she had never met. Her life since then has been a roller coaster, but Indai links her to her origin in both positive and negatives ways.
Initially, the newest incarnation of Indai was to be dressed in black and white, with a Peter Pan collar: think 1800s nanny. However, when inSIGHT meets up with Rosell, it is clear things have taken a dramatically colourful turn. She has removed one of the hot pink curtains that flap excitedly at the door of her container and is busy cutting and stitching it into frills.
Indai, in all her glory, is stalking the GreenWay. You should go hitch a lift, it’s one hell of a ride.
With another incarnation of Indai due on the final weekend of EDGE GreenWay, Rosell will be onsite curating this emergence and the poignant stories that emerge from it.