Spanning India, East Africa and the UK, Nalini explores the connected histories of Arpita Shah’s mother, her grandmother and herself. The exhibition reveals ancestral intimacies across space and time, and how their histories, memories and bodies are intertwined.

“My grandmother was born in India but grew up in Kenya for 12 years before moving back to India. Although I visit my grandmother every couple of years in India, I have realised how little I really know about what she was like as a young woman, her memories, experiences and what her relationships were like with her own mother and her daughter.”

Nalini is a personal journey for Arpita Shah, which has allowed her to reconnect with the past through her maternal lineage and explore how migration, distance and loss have shaped their lives. Her photographic journey led to discoveries of old forgotten family photographs, shared and individual memories of objects, places, and family stories. The portraiture process itself physically connects the artist to her mother and grandmother, allowing her to visually explore how connected their lives really are.


Presented at Duff House in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, Nalini highlights the space as both a family home and a site of imperial legacy. Arpita’s journey is both an intimate reflection on family history and a shared experience of the imperial routes of migration that tie Scotland, India and Kenya together.

Nalini allows us to shift the lens away from narratives of Scottish history that are dominated by wealthy white men, instead highlighting the diasporic histories of women of colour.

Image Caption

© Arpita Shah

  • Venue

    Duff House

  • Address

    Duff House, Banff AB45 3SX

  • Website