State of being so divided: documents, memories and archives
Residency: 26th September to 5th November 2011
Opening, IVS Gallery: 1st November
Opening, VM Art Gallery: 3rd November
‘State of Being So Divided’, a project co-organised by Citizens Archive of Pakistan and Vasl Artists’ Collective, focuses on narratives of civil war, Partition and conflict within South Asia – casting a broad view over development of the nations of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India since Partition in 1947. At the IVS Gallery CAP mounted an exhibition presenting a chronological display of archive materials representing Pakistan’s development between 1947 and 1971, and at the VM Art Gallery Vasl arranged a group exhibition to showcase the work of the artists to have undertaken this residency. While at Vasl, Ahsan Jamal (Karachi), Yasmin Jahan Nupur (Dhaka), and Ayub Wali (Gilgit-Baltistan), examined the archives at CAP, engaged in dialogues and explorations across Karachi, and developed work based on their research.
From Pakistan Ahsan Jamal – typically identified for his work as a miniature painter – has brought personal and familial narratives into the programme, examining the events of 1947 in light of his father’s work as a poet who witnessed the dividing of the Punjab in 1947. Ayub Wali, a recent graduate of the new NCA campus in Rawalpindi brings to the residency an understanding of conflict and partition within Pakistan that is influenced by his background as an artist from Gilgit-Baltistan, a province that joined the Pakistani state in 1948 and that variously struggles to find a place within the political organisation of the country. From Bangladesh artist and Britto member Yasmin Jahan Nupur has produced work that questions perceptions of the 1971 conflict on both sides of the Subcontinent, analysing emotions of guilt and pride, and reflecting on the events that took place before and after the creation of Bangladesh.
On the opening of CAP’s show at IVS, Zambeel Dramatic Readings presented Shigaaf, a performance commissioned by Vasl. Zambeel members Mahvash Faruqi, Saife Hasan and Asma Mundrawala selected two stories, ‘The Body' by Afsan Chowdhry and ‘Tishnagi’ by Masood Mufti to read in the form of a theatrical performance.
Unfortunately the title of this residency has proven itself in the constitution of the programme. We selected two artists from India to participate – Paula Sengupta from Kolkata and Raheema Begum from Bangalore – yet thanks to increased visa restrictions on citizens travelling between Pakistan and India, neither artist was able to attend. In order to overcome the unexpectedly reduced numbers on this residency Vasl has decided to exploit the group exhibition format for the final display of artists’ work at the VM Gallery. Inviting artist Zahra Malkani to work with us as a curator and researcher, we have been able to cast a wide visual net around the programme, and to consider how an open studio exhibition could be developed by the addition of archival materials and pre-existing artists’ works that support the resident artists’ display. Two presentations by Paula Sengupta were also present in the exhibition, representing her work and her contribution to the programme from afar.
‘State of Being So Divided’ was also represented by a catalogue that was conceived to represent the residency and the breadth of its content. Taking into account the massive accumulations of knowledge and information have informed ‘State of Being So Divided’ this limited-run catalogue includes commissioned artworks, essays and curatorial texts, along with artist pages, literary additions and archive materials that represent and broaden the scope of the programme.
Partners and sponsors for this project:
- Ahsan Jamal, ( karachi, Pakistan )
- Ayub Wali, (Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan)
- Yasmin Jahan, (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
- Ammad Tahir
- Exhibition Catalogue
- Paula Sengupta, (Calcutta, India)
- Zahra Malkani
- Zambeel Dramatic Readings
- The Journey from 1947 to 1971 Retraced
(by Peerzada Salman)
- War and Roses
- (by Peerzada Salman)