An unusual celebration of history

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CELEBRATING HISTORIES: "Railtracks to Meerut"
CELEBRATING HISTORIES: "Railtracks to Meerut"

SAHMAT's exhibition focuses on the larger picture in personal histories

Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust's unique exhibition titled "Making History Our Own" is all about artists exploring their personal histories in the context of the 60 years of independence and also the 150 years since the 1857 rebellion against foreign rule.

Over 45 artists have delved into their past and come up with interesting interpretations that are now showcased at the All-India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) gallery here on Rafi Marg.

"Artists have used their imagination to respond to the national history in terms of personal history," says Rajan of SAHMAT. "These creative artists have explored macro-history against their own micro-stories through the medium of photography, paintings, digital art, video clippings and even models.''

For photographer Ram Rahman, an old family portrait given a frame by his work, letters from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as well as images like the burning twin towers and clippings from movies -- all together make up his personal history against a larger one.

Many artists chose innovative methods to portray their history as well as that of the nation. "Write Your Own History," claimed Manjunath Kamath's work -- a blank, framed pink paper waiting to be written on. History for Arunkumar H. G. is a bunch of medallions showing Ayodhya-1992, Iraq-2003, Ahmedabad-2002 as well as farmers' suicides from 2001-06.

The artists' quest for their own personal histories also saw some of them presenting their self-portraits and some others embarking on journeys to discover their selves. From Bhagat Singh and Che Guevera to Mahatma Gandhi's "charkha" and old photographs from school and video on one's grandmother -- the interpretation of personal and political histories varied widely.

The artists presenting their works include Pablo Bartholomew, Arpita Singh, Neelima Sheikh, Shamshad, Kriti Arora and many others. There are also plans to take the project across the country.

The exhibition is on view up to this coming Sunday. -- P. Anima




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