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Eye of the camera

 Kriti Upadhyaya |  2015-09-27 18:43:45.0  |  New Delhi

Eye of the  camera

After a month long residence and collaboration in Khirki Village, 11 international artists from India and Africa showcased what it meant to be an African living in India and the historical ties between the continent and India through “Coriolis Effect – Currents across India and Africa”. The <g data-gr-id="18">month long</g> <g data-gr-id="19">residence</g> at Khoj International Artists’s Association culminated into a cocktail of interesting and thought <g data-gr-id="33">provoking</g> art which was on display till 31 August. 

Interestingly Khoj is situated in the ghettos of the very Khirki Village which was in <g data-gr-id="31">news</g> last year after Somnath Bharti’s raid in the area and the subsequent talks of discrimination that Africans face in this city. This incident along with the fact that more than 5,000 African live in Delhi (unofficial figures could be much higher) and the racism they are subjected to inspired the project in many ways. Sitara Chowfla, Project Manager, said: “Khirki Village has been home to immigrants from within the Indian subcontinent, as well as migrants from many countries leading to cultural differences and racial violence. This project has grown out of a series of encounters and conversations which took place in and around Khoj through 2014”

By revisiting old ties right from 13th century to the era of <g data-gr-id="22">non alignment</g> and events in the now, Coriolis Effect explored the various contours of the relationship between the continent, its people and the people of India. Most striking was Bernard <g data-gr-id="23">Akoi</g>-Jackson’s tapestry which had on display fragments of cloths from local residents. The ambiguity of their owners underlined the futility of race and <g data-gr-id="25">nationality based</g> distinctions.

Similarly Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan, son of a civil servant in <g data-gr-id="17">Nehruvian</g> era, used his father’s photo archive as a trace of India’s <g data-gr-id="20">post colonial</g> relationship with Ethiopia. In contrast Juan Orrantia’s work In the dark all cats are black captured African presence in New Delhi from <g data-gr-id="21">post colonial</g> times to the contemporary era. 

Other works included the Insurrections Ensemble which presented narratives, poems, songs, videos etc through spontaneous conversations with locals and <g data-gr-id="15">Amshu</g> Chukki’s documentary Presence that raised questions of identity and belonging especially in the context of Africans in India. 

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