Proposals for a Memorial to Partition
‘Proposals for a Memorial to Partition’ gathers proposals made by artists and writers for an imaginary memorial to the partition of India and Pakistan in the aftermath of British colonial rule. Curated by Murtaza Vali, these proposals may be as diverse as artworks, texts or sketches, offering many poetic and speculative ways of looking at a historical event that resists narrow classifications.
A few crucial weeks in 1947 led to decades-long complex and unresolved processes of displacement, fragmentation, conflict and nation-making that still deeply scar societies and people. ‘Proposals for a Memorial to Partition’ undertakes the impossible task of imagining monuments to an event that doesn’t have a clear beginning and hasn’t ended yet, and for which many conflicting interpretations exist.
Some histories are forgotten while others are emphasised and co-opted, warranting the need for constant debate. Recent years have also seen the emergence of institutions dedicated to Partition, as first-hand witnesses wane and collecting their histories became urgent. This exhibition is part of an ever-changing memorialisation process that varies with the necessities of the present.
Curator and writer Murtaza Vali initiated this project in 2011 as part of a series of publications commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 10 under the title Manual for Treason. To address the changeable nature of remembrance, the ongoing project takes on an accumulative approach where new proposals are shown next to earlier ones.
‘Proposals for a Memorial to Partition’ includes new proposals by Bani Abidi; Saira Ansari; Skye Arundhati Thomas; Hemali Bhuta; CAMP; Abhijan Toto, Fileona Dkhar and Pujita Guha for the Forest Curriculum; Shilpa Gupta; Faiza Hasan; Aziz Hazara; Karachi LaJamia (Shahana Rajani & Zahra Malkani); Shreyas Karle; Amitava Kumar; Pak Khawateen Painting Club; Sreshta Rit Premnath; Fazal Rizvi; Seher Shah; Omer Wasim; and Nabla Yahya.
The project’s initial proposals were devised in 2011 by Fahd Burki; Shezad Dawood; Shilpa Gupta; Nalini Malani; Yamini Nayar; and Seher Shah.
A reading list for ‘Proposals for a Memorial to Partition’ is available online. Please visit the Jameel Library to access books and other material related to the exhibition.
Faiza Hasan, Circle no. 4, M.C.H, charcoal and imitation gold foil on paper, 20 x 27.5 cm, 2021. Courtesy of Rishi Raj Jain, GALLERYSKE and the artist.
Seher Shah, Notes from a City Unknown, 2021, portfolio of 32 screenprints on paper, 30 x 22 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Green Art Gallery.