SARAH AHMAD | 1 SEPTEMBER, 2017
There is a folded newspaper lying next to me and a pair of ripped denim jeans that I often wear, a metaphor for the world we live in - broken, shattered, yet hopeful. Everything that I consume, obtain or create is an outcome of what has already happened, the past looking right back at me. No matter how inconsequential that grey suitcase looks, it has a story - a beginning, a middle and an end. I am sitting at its end, hopeful for another beginning.
Time has passed by quickly, I am a product of all the thoughts, things and people I met, all the places I travelled to, all the memories I made. The early morning rains have become the subject of my thoughts this evening, it has washed clean the skies above and given way to thoughts of summer days spent in Gaya. As I reminisce about my childhood, I fill myself with words in my head, words so compelling that they never come together to form sentences on paper.
We wait for rains to take place of hot summer days and cold to take away the blues, the artist waits to perform their art, art influenced by experiences, stories, society, political battles and emotional escapades.
From wars into paintings, plays and films, societal upheavals into performances and novels, century old art into curated exhibits, art is a great tool to enlighten us about significant historical events.
An exhibition, titled Remembering Partition: Unheard Stories, is a collection of multimedia stories about various people, experiences and consequences of the Partition. This multimedia based exhibition, in Delhi, brings together narratives of history, memory and belonging. The story of a woman still living in a refugee camp and of two brothers who travelled from Travancore to the North-West Frontier Province for work and were stranded there at Partition, are some of the many narratives part of this exhibit.
Often stories from different parts of the world come together to tell tales of an ever-changing city life; stories from the past and the present. Hosted by the Indian Institute of Human Settlements, The Urban Lens Film Festival highlights this idea by bringing together films from various parts of the globe. The fourth edition of this festival includes twenty-seven fiction, non-fiction, and animation films talking about cities and framing them beyond their skylines into cinematic pieces narrating experiences of people around the world.
Cinematic narratives from India, France, United States of America, Italy, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Jordan, Iran and South Africa build this film festival. Films talking about a couple’s struggle for housing in a crowded city (Ek Ghar), resilience of people in making homes for themselves in an abandoned building in Caracas (Ruina), a grandson’s search for the truth about his grandfather in Buenos Aires (70 y Pico), stories of immigrants in Israel and the United States (Journey Birds and and I) and a fantastical imagination of Berlin (Wings of Desire), are some of the many films being screened at The Urban Lens Film Festival.
Art becomes the present to recount a bygone experience. Incidents, memories and territories juxtapose to tell diverse stories; the past becomes a tale to tell today.
- Remembering Partition: Unheard Stories – India International Centre, Kamladevi Complex, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi, till September 8, from 11:00 pm to 7:00 pm
- The Urban Lens Festival:
Bengaluru – Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan September 21-24.
New Delhi – Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, October 6-8