By 1945, two and a half million Indians had volunteered to take up arms for their British Colonial rulers during World War II (WWII). They fought in the mountains of Burma, the hills of Cassino, Italy and in the deserts of North Africa. They transported artillery, repaired jeeps, and, under enemy fire, retrieved and carried the wounded from the battlefield to safety. Thirty of them won Victoria crosses, and more than 87,000 died. Yet, in India and the world, they remain uncommemorated and unremembered.
Professor and Fulbright scholar Annu Palakunnathu Matthew will parse out the confluence of factors that played a role in this history complicated by Partition. Her photo-based artwork is a striking blend of still and moving imagery and draws on archival photographs as a source of inspiration to re-examine historical narratives. They enable her to interpret the “known” history in order to give the viewer the opportunity to question established narratives and consider parallel realities and hidden histories. Her presentation will include her recent work commissioned for the 2018 Kochi-Muziris Biennale, archival footage of the Indian soldiers in all three theaters and the work that led to this current project.
She is presently in India on a Fulbright, crowdsourcing photographs of the WW2 Indian soldiers from family’s photo albums. If you have some, bring them to be scanned at the event!
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew will be in conversation with Aditya Sondhi.
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s recent solo exhibitions include the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, Nuit Blanche Toronto, and sepiaEYE, nyc. Matthew has also exhibited her work at the RISD Museum, Newark Art Museum, MFA Boston, San Jose Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts (TX), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), 2018 Kochi-Muziris Biennale, 2018 Fotofest Biennial, 2009 Guangzhou Photo Biennial as well as at the Smithsonian. Grants and fellowships that have supported her work include a MacColl Johnson, John Guttman, two Fulbright Fellowships and grants from the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts.
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew is Professor of Art at the University of Rhode Island. She was also the Director of the Center for the Humanities from 2014-2019 and the 2015-17 Silvia Chandley Professor in Peace Studies and Non-violence. Matthew is represented by sepiaEYE, NYC.
Aditya Sondhi, PhD is a Senior Advocate practising before the High Court of Karnataka and Supreme Court of India. He has served as the Additional Advocate General for Karnataka between 2016 and 2018. He is visiting faculty at the National Law School of India University and has lectured widely in India and abroad.