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What Culture Means to Me: Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan

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We’re gathering voices from all over Dublin to help us express through a series of articles/blogs how culture can play an active role in our everyday lives. Throughout our series of ‘What Culture Means to Me’ we will be hearing from project partners, citizens, actors, artists, musicians, visitors and people who work in Dublin, to grasp an understanding of, and the significance of culture in Dublin today.

Here Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan; Marketing & Fundraising Exec at Fishamble: The New Play Company (one of the Fellows appointed as part of the Fundraising Fellowship, Dublin) shares her thoughts on the importance of culture in her own life:

In 2012 I moved to Dublin to start a new life, and what the cultural sector provided was my map for a nation. I saw the lifeblood of a country pulse through stories on stages, channeled through microphones, and through drying ink. In my first weeks here I curled up with soft strangers in the Exchange and performed for the first time; I queued in the Gutter Bookshop for John Connolly, my favourite book by him still in a shipping container; I gazed up at the painted faces of Corn Exchange actors in awe and delight; I danced alone in the back row of the SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS screening at the IFI; and I outlined suspended Paperdolls with fresh ink at Dr Sketchy’s, the taste of cupcakes and tequila sweet and sharp in my mouth. As I settled in over the years, I moved between jobs in different creative sectors, each time immersing myself in a new community that gave me another language to interpret life with. I felt my most alive sparking connections through those new groups, counting myself lucky to mingle with the dynamic minds that fuelled them.

Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan

When I first moved here, culture was the key to an unlocked door, that when opened was its own rabbithole of experiences. It was thick with red onion layers, the culture of a sector within the culture of a city within the culture of a region, and so on and so forth. It was a welcome with open arms for a foreigner to saturate herself with, to adapt and absorb until a new identity was formed. However it has also been a fight, a constant battle between assimilation and a faltering sense of self, with the residue of a forfeited national identity still slick on the inside of old memories.

Over the last five years, here in Dublin, culture has given me a career, a community, and a platform. More than once it has given me a lifeline.

It has given me a world, and a home.

We’re asking the question ‘What does culture mean to you’ and so far, we’ve been amazed by some of the responses. ‘Culture’ is that intangible thing – that each of us struggles to explain or put down in words. Is it a space or place? A feeling, a moment or a connection with people? We’re gathering voices from all over Dublin to help us express through a series of articles/blogs how culture can play an active role in our everyday lives. We would love to hear from you! Find out more HERE



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