Redefining the idea of home when all is lost and when borders are etched between lands and people, this is what Sheba Remy Kharbanda and William Charles Moss’s documentary is all about. To be screened from 14 to 21 November in India Habitat Centre, Five Rivers: A Portrait of Partition is a documentary in Cyclorama featuring a video art installation by these multi-disciplinary artists.
The documentary illustrates the intimate complexities of ‘home’. Staged inside a traditional Indian wedding tent, this cycloramic screening marries culture-bridging conventions of storytelling to the stimulation of a sculptural installation.
Projected footage occupies conducting a blend of five synchronized films that craft the narrative of Amrik Singh, a Punjabi/Afghani Sikh who at age nine left his childhood home to migrate alongside millions across the Indian Subcontinent in the months preceding the Partition of India in 1947.
Singh’s introspective recollections carry an invitation for participants to trace his turbulent journey to redefine home across the sudden and stark borders created by the establishment of Pakistan and India as independent states.
Clearly visible on the white textile of the tent from both inside and outside the structure, these interviews, landscapes, and historical documentation are fostered by a pervasive soundtrack of contemporary punjabi and urdu poetry, testimony, and speeches that imbibe the space with a strong sense of the memory.
The artiste, Sheba Remy Kharbanda is a metaphysician, filmmaker and storyteller born in London to immigrants from the Punjabi.
In 2005, she launched the Foreign Land Project, a documentary film and online oral history archive that chronicles the stories of elder women from the Punjab, who, after partition of India, left for England in search of work and a new home. In May, 2014, her essay entitled, A Lesson in Love was published in the anthology, Her Name Is Kaur: Sikh American Women Write about Love, Courage, and Faith.
With Five Rivers, Kharbanda seeks to weave threads through questions of identity, displacement and memory - questions she continues to grapple with and which she feels are her ancestral inheritance.
William Charles Moss is a photographer and cinematographer who began in the feature film industry almost twenty years ago, before discovering the world of documentary film, which has since become his passion. Together with Kharbanda, he runs Callejero Films, a Brooklyn-based video production company.
When: 14-21? Nov
Where: India Habitat Centre Timing: 5.30 pm onwards