URONTO at Lakhotia Zamindar House in Barisal
In the 4th episode of the URONTO residential art exchange program, artists from varied disciplines and nations came together in a common space to interpret, re-construct, re-imagine, and resurrect the communal history of Lakhotia Zamindar House. Locally called the Babur Bari, Lakhotia Zamindar House is situated at Lakhotia Village of Barisal District. Thematically, the artists, for the duration of the camp (January 2-9, 2015), examined and explored the locations through time and space, since there are countless narratives surrounding the building and its impact on the immediate environment. These included painters, sculptors, installation artist, performance artist, textile designer, photographers, writers, and art historians from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. Participating artists included Aditi Kumar Gupta (India), Sisir Thapa (India), Hamida Khatri (Pakistan), Tasmin Choudhury (Bangladesh), Farhad Rahman (Bangladesh), Fahad Al-Alam (Bangladesh), Ali Asgar (Bangladesh), Chandra Shukhen (Bangladesh), Shahriar Shihab (Bangladesh), and Nazim Uddin Khan (Bangladesh).
Under the curatorship of Sadya Mizan, the artworks placed on the architectural surrounding of the Lakhotia House were imbued with faded memories, re-imagined from the combination of two major sources. The first being various historical books and the second through a one-on-one interview with the last living member of the Lakhotia household, Mandira Mukherjee.
The written sources were concentrated on the political, economic, and social concerns of the 1950 and 1971 riots, while a one-on-one conversation with Mandira shedding new light to the historical understanding of Lakhotia. Her stories banked on her childhood memories along with what she witnessed as person who grew up as an inhabitant of the place/palace. Her accounts bring to the light the socio-political and economic transgressions that lead to the physical and emotional traumas. The artists set out to respond to the site(s) and its fading history stitched the two sources of narrative together to tailor idioms of both visual and conceptual verves.
Sisir Thapa, constructed moulds as a direct reference to the architecture (steps of the Lakotia House) and devised a display where the components are hung on the air like apparitions from the past. Fahad Al Alam, using photography, reawakened a sense of space, forlorn and forgotten, to revisit the Lakhotia House with an emotional frame of mind. Tasmin Chowdhury, a textile designer, stitched a 'Dream Catcher' in a window re-framing the past designing a colourfull reentry into the abandoned space. Ali Asgar, a performance artist, unearthed old memories through a public performance that saw him excavate the loss in wake the occupation of the space by the state and the transformation that followed.
URONTO Residential Art Exchange Programmme is an alternative art platform for creative individuals to work around a common theme and space incorporating the idea of multidisciplinary in art, with the aim of connecting various generations and communities in the process.
- DEPART DESK