Mass migration, as consequential of globalization, has catapulted identities and their accompanying ideologies into oscillated fluidities. The identities generated via this re-routing phenomenon are described as hybrid or diasporic in essence. The term “cultural hybridity” was coined to signify the complexities associated with multiculturalism, capturing the perfectly imperfect notions which simultaneously define and defy such personas. These are colliding complexities between likeness and difference, belonging, estrangement and alienation which span across geographic, cultural, and linguistic peripheries. There has been a significant upsurge in the migratory patterns of the Southern Slavic population since the fall of communism and the Yugoslav Wars, many of which had arrived in South Africa as pollical and economic refugees. My artistic practice focuses on the development and preservation of the diasporic Serbian community displaced in South Africa, where the first generation of immigrants simultaneously possess acquired Western and preserved non-Western value structures. Despite the penetration of Western values, their influence seems miniscule as Serbian family structures continue to uphold largely patriarchal and extremely traditional cultural frameworks, where the division of labor is gendered, the divine sanctity of marriage is propagated along with the necessity of childbearing.
The cultural homogeneity encompassing the Serbian diasporic community is emblematic of totalitarianism, with only one accepted way of living and thinking. It should be noted that the Serbian diasporic community within South Africa conveys and perpetuates a considerably diluted rendering of the patriotism which the nation itself carries to a much greater degree. Although hybrid identities acquire the power to transcend national boundaries, they continue to exist in a national framework which encompasses their cultural history. Serbs within the diaspora face the threat of nationalist disapproval, therefore resulting in one of the two following scenarios: first, the migrant may attempt to reclaim national sovereignty- desperately clinging onto the re-enactments of tradition. The second scenario involves a radical acceptance, where the migrant denounces all that is totalitarian in thought, viewing patriotism with a newfound skepticism. My intention is to explore the saturated “diasporic optic” as proposed by Sujata Moorti, through a cinematic lensed capturing of the aesthetics signifying multi-layered cultural influences.