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A filmmaker, a visual artist and two writers engage in a discussion centered around the intergenerational impact of partition – exploring how memories and a search for identity come together through research investigating partition in personal and profound ways.
The creative practitioners and panelists for this session, Aanchal Malhotra, Arpita Akhanda, Bani Singh and Urvashi Butalia undertake research for their work through methodologies such as oral history interviews, note-making, looking at objects and documents such as photographs, maps, letters, postcards as well as archival footage from personal and institutional archives. Through this session they will bring into focus how oral history and archival material have been a significant part of their creative process, as a tool in the search for a deeper understanding of their identity through expression in – film, writing and visual art.
In this session Aanchal Malhotra, Arpita Akhanda, Bani Singh and Urvashi Butalia will present their work and engage in a discussion about the role of oral history and archives in their process and practice of making and expression. The discussion will be moderated by Urvashi Butalia. This will be followed by a Q&A session.
Arpita Akhanda was born in 1992 and brought up in a family of artists who migrated from Bangladesh during the partition and moved through many locations in India before settling in Cuttack, Odisha. Arpita completed her B.F.A & M.F.A in Painting from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati University.
Currently she works across mediums which include paper weavings, photography, performance, installation, drawing, and video. Akhanda has performed at India Art Fair 2022, Teertha International Performance Platform, Sri Lanka, and Chittagong Art College, Bangladesh. In addition, some of her exhibition credits include Hub India, Artissima International Fair of Contemporary Art at Torino, Italy, curated by Myna Mukherjee and Davide Quadrio, represented by Emami Art in 2021; Körper: The memory collector, Kunstrum, Aarau, Switzerland; Of Liminal Beings and other spaces, curated by Ushmita Sahu, Emami Art gallery, Kolkata; The Trifecta of Movement at Exhibit 320, New Delhi; The Lay of the Land, Exhibit320, New Delhi.
She was selected as a part of the India Art Fair Artist in Residence program 2022, Artist in Residence program Gästeatelier Krone, Aarau, Switzerland in association with Khoj Kolkata in the year 2021, and Piramal Art Residency in 2019-20.
Arpita Akhanda is a recent recipient of Inlaks Fine Art Award 2022, Emerging Artist Award 2020 extended support platform from FICA and Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation 2021, State Award Fellowship in New Media from Prafulla Dahanukar Art Foundation, 2019 and is also a recipient of National Scholarship by CCRT Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India in Painting, 2016. She lives and works in Santiniketan, West Bengal.
More information about Arpita’s practice can be found here
Aanchal Malhotra is an oral historian from New Delhi, India. She is the author of two books, Remnants of a Separation, published internationally as Remnants of Partition, that archives the objects carried by refugees across the newly made border in 1947, and In the Language of Remembering, on the long-lasting, intergenerational, cross-border legacy of Partition.
More information about Aanchal’s work can be found here.
Bani Singh studied Space Design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and worked in the area of Museum studies later. She worked at the ‘Virasat-e-Khalsa Museum’ in Anandpur Sahib, Punjab as a gallery visualiser and content interpreter and was a senior faculty at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology. Taangh is her first documentary film in which she, as a daughter, embarks on a journey to find the champion her father was when he won the hockey gold for India at the 1948 London Olympics.
More information about the film, Taangh, can be found here.
Urvashi Butalia is a writer, publisher and activist. She is known for her work in the women’s movement of India, as well as for the oral history of Partition, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India. She is the co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publisher, and now director of Zubaan.