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Infra Project: ‘Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life’

A Place for repose

Project Curator Veer Munshi
Srinagar-Kochi Muziris Biennale ‘18 12th December’18-30th March’19

A Place for Repose

During our sojourn on this earth, as we journey through life, we often feel we have come to a blind-end having lost our directions. When you are caught between two onflicting ideologies, it becomes a question of being caught between Scylla and Charybdis. The waters can be very rough and choppy, and can throw up confusion, rustration and deep anxiety. Yet there is a place where the right questions can be asked and where we can learn to look at ourselves deeply and with integrity. A Sufi shrine is perhaps where one can hold on to one's sense of self.

This middle space has been marginalized over time in Kashmir valley, and one endeavour’s to explore the value and impact of any acts or art activity in conflict zones, particularly in Kashmir which was once a seat of Sufism. Sufis, from the valley of Kashmir, had always healed bleeding hearts and tired souls from all the cross-sections of society, through their truthful discourses and their practice of what they preached. The arts also then serve as coping mechanisms and enable the civil society to be resilient and instill survival and accountability instincts. In spaces where power is often demonstrated primarily through acts of violence, art and culture can serve as an alternative form of empowerment for the disenfranchised and victims.

Most Kashmiri artists have been in and out of the valley since 1990's. While some immigrated along with the Pandit exodus, the others-mostly Muslim stayed back and suffered in these shrinking cultural spaces, some were born much before the conflict and some within it. Hence the experiences and expressions of the artists are as varied as multiple mediums and practices. However what underlies in all their creative expressions are the crisis regarding the question of identity, migration and displacement.

The work comprises a large structure borrowing elements from the local Kashmiri architecture with intricate traditional wood carving into which the audience can walk in and be washed over by waves of sound beseeching the return of the last ones. As such the installation also nods towards the secular or Sufi traditions of organized sociality and the everyday acts of resistance/ resilience exhibited by these prone bodies by virtue of their democratization of and laying claim to the sacred in a manner both extremely personal.

Give life and return love to the place you are in and live. Embrace it and become strong. It is amazing what lengths people would go to avoid the unknown-for this would being them face to face with their own solitary existence. It is only through this that we can become a fully evolved human being and blossom in ways that would be more beautiful and fruitful then one could have ever imagined.

Curated by Veer Munshi