Art that Connects: Socio-Political Artist Pritika Chowdhry’s Anti-Memorial on Sheet Music

0
Photo credit: Pritika Chowdhry. Remembering the crooked line, 2009-10. Dupioni silk, tassar silk, tea-dyed cotton, handmade paper, surgical sutures, pig tripe, turmeric, walnut ink, wire, embroidery thread, wood, chess set and parchisi set. 1000 m²

Indians and Pakistanis love cricket, kabaddi, kite, chess and parchisi. These sports and games unite people on both sides of the border. Their languages ​​are also similar – Hindi and Urdu have the same grammar and phonology. They are almost the same languages; the peoples of the two countries can easily understand each other. Hindus and Muslims have lived in the subcontinent for many years; they shared a common heritage, culture and language. The partition caused the separation of Hindus and Muslims into two different states, namely India and Pakistan.

In memory of the crooked line, Chowdhry sees maps as the skin of a nation. She manifests cards on clothes, board games and kites. She uses silk, cotton, paper, wax and pig tripe to create skin-like surfaces on kites, bodices and shirts. She then draws the newly created maps and borders onto the garments using hot tools, ink, hair and thread to metaphorically manifest the ruptures caused by borders on the skin of the nation. She uses wire to create barbed wire structures in bodices and surgical sutures on kites to perform repair gestures. Chowdhry first created the installation in 2009, and subsequently it was exhibited at Rohtas 2 Gallery in Lahore, Pakistan in 2011, India’s Nature Morte Gallery in Berlin in 2012, and ” Erasing Borders” at the Hammond Museum in North Salem. in 2013.

Photo credit: Pritika Chowdhry. Remembering the crooked line, 2009-10. Dupioni silk, tassar silk, tea-dyed cotton, handmade paper, surgical sutures, pig tripe, turmeric, walnut ink, wire, embroidery thread, wood, chess set and parchisi set. 1000 m²

The first four parts of the Chowdhry installation, or anti-memorial, depict local games such as ring-a-ring-a-roses, chess, parchisi, and the kite. The primary reason for the representation of these local games is to show the similarities between the cultures of these compartmentalised countries. People in these countries also play these local games. It thus highlights the transnational link between these countries, while highlighting Partition.

The Muslim minority in India celebrates Eid and the Hindu minority in Pakistan celebrates Diwali. However, the feast of basing is observed in the same way in both countries. Both countries are famous for their kite contests during basing and their delicious cuisines; they often share the same recipes and dishes. Religious ideologies were the basis of India’s partition, not cultural identity. The partition divided Hindus and Muslims with a new border, but they still share common cultural identities. India and Pakistan have several ongoing political disputes, but there are many similarities between the two countries. India and Pakistan have several ongoing political disputes, but there are many similarities between the two countries.

Photo credit: Pritika Chowdhry. Remembering the crooked line, 2009-10. Dupioni silk, tassar silk, tea-dyed cotton, handmade paper, surgical sutures, pig tripe, turmeric, walnut ink, wire, embroidery thread, wood, chess set and parchisi set. 1000 m²

The fifth part of the project consists of a multi-layered soundscape. You can hear the speeches of the founders of the newly created independent states due to partitions – India, Pakistan, Israel and Ireland. The name Anti-Memorial, “The Skin of a Nation”, also refers to the theme of suffering and sacrifice. For example, the people of these states have made great sacrifices for freedom. They lost their lives, families and property. In other words, they give their lives (skins) for an independent state.

Chowdhry named the facility after a famous postcolonial novel, Lake Terhi (The Crooked Line), written by Ismat Chugtai. The story explores the relationship and cultural similarities between India and Ireland. The novel’s protagonist is a young Muslim woman in India who ends up marrying an Irish journalist. Chugtai gestures towards the history of the shared partition of India and Ireland in this novel.

In the ongoing series Partition Memorial Project, Chowdhry explores the transnational connections between nations divided during colonial or Cold War times by creating new artificial borders. Randolph Bourne introduced the term “trans-nation” in the 20th century. According to Randolph, it’s a new way of thinking about the relationships and connections between different nations and cultures. The concept of “transnationalism” refers to connecting people across borders. Chowdhry examines the transnational connections between partition histories in these countries.

Photo credit: Pritika Chowdhry. Remembering the crooked line, 2009-10. Dupioni silk, tassar silk, tea-dyed cotton, handmade paper, surgical sutures, pig tripe, turmeric, walnut ink, wire, embroidery thread, wood, chess set and parchisi set. 1000 m²

For example, Ireland and India were both colonies of the British Empire. Irish and Indian revolutionaries had contact with each other and even provided refuge for each other. Surprisingly, there is also a similarity between the flags of the two countries. Similarly, Palestine was partitioned on November 29, 1947, barely three months after the partition of India.

So far, the project consists of nine facilities, including silent waters, Remember the crooked line, What the body remembers, dust handle, and Broken column. Chowdhry is currently preparing for two solo exhibitions at ARC and the Chicago Department of Art which will open in July and August 2022 where she will continue to investigate these themes.

India and Pakistan also have cultural ties through the folk tales of Heer-Ranjha, Sassi-Panu and Mirza-Sahiba, popular in both countries. Hindus and Muslims also share a similar cultural heritage. Historical attractions like the Badshahi The Lahore Mosque in Pakistan and the Taj Mahal in Agra, India were built by Mughal architects and are highly revered by Hindus and Muslims.

Both states were British colonies and they fought side by side for their independence from the British. With heightened tension between Hindus and Muslims in India, artworks like Chowdhry’s that provide space for healing, summoning and deeper historical context are vital.

Biography of the artist

Pritika Chowdhry’s goal is to reveal hidden counter-memories in tragic historical events through her art; this is why she creates anti-memorials. It opposes genocide, gender and ethnic violence. She believes that violence against any gender, race, religion and country is wrong.

She also presents her work nationally and internationally in various art exhibitions such as the Weisman Museum (Minneapolis), the Queen Museum (New York), the Hunterdon Museum (New Jersey), the Islip art Museum, the Visual Arts Center Of New Jersey and Cambridge. Art Gallery (Massachusetts). She is also the recipient of numerous art grants such as the Vilas International Travel Fellowship, the Wisconsin Art Board Fellowship, and the Minnesota States Arts Board Fellowship.

Chowdhry was born and raised in India, and she is an installation artist and scholar. His current residence is in Chicago, USA. She did an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She also works with various mediums in her works, such as fiber, clay, paper, latex, wood, drawing and ceramics.

Authors biography

Tahira Rani Ali is an arts and culture writer with four years of experience writing articles for different websites. Tahira loves creativity, books, articles, research and literature. She holds an MA in English Literature and Language from Lahore College for Women, University, Pakistan, 2020. She wrote a thesis on the topic of existential angst in Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad.

Key words:
ARC, art blog, art magazine, art review, In Remembering the Crooked Line, Pritika Chowdhry, Rohtas 2 gallery, Chicago Department of Art
Guest Writer

Arte Fuse is always looking for guest writers. Please submit your story to [email protected]

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.