Monster On My Chest | 2022

Artist: Tyler Hubby
Medium: 120 film scan mounted on acrylic
Dimensions: 24 x 36 inches

When I first saw the Gothic poster, my eyes were drawn to Kiran Shah’s calm, young face and I found myself connecting to the demon. His face seemed so familiar to me; he may as well have been an uncle of mine. As I read more about him, it became clear that our ancestors had traversed the same routes across the Indian Ocean, back and forth from the western coast of India to the eastern shores of Africa. Then I noticed his hand, with long dark nails, extending out over a prone white woman’s neck, and I realized he was crouching on her abdomen. 

Suddenly, I was furious that he had been cast in this role of a monster – a threatening demon – in this English production. Gothic was filmed in the era of “Paki-bashing,” of “skinhead terror” in the UK. Why was it that Kiran’s size and features were so terrifying to presumed-white audiences? Did his naked body draw on lurking sexual anxieties about miscegenation and disability? In my anger, I did not want to free him or myself from the monstrous feeling this poster gave me. Perversely, I wanted to dwell in this shadowy role, to embrace the darkness that a white supremacist imaginary has cast us into, to terrify any onlooker who dared cast such a look in my direction. 

Excerpt from “Monster on My Chest” written by Shireen Hamza

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