Work: Crossings @NUS Museum
Crossings is a one-year solo exhibition collab with NUS Museum and Curator Sidd Perez that runs from March-March 2019. It is a four-part exhibition of my research from 2014-2018 that spans stories of lived and inherited migration of individuals from different generations and backgrounds in Pakistan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Through a process that begins with interviews and continues with a formal interrogation of the image and voice as document, ideas of agency, relationships and nation implicit to moving between places of home are elaborated.
The first iteration, which ran from March 8 till the end of April 2018 comprised 2 works. "You think it over slowly, slowly choose ...“ : 13x50 (2018) is a work that questions immobility imposed through nation formation. It is made up of hundreds of tissue paper prints made from 50 re-photographs each of 13 existing family photographs of a grandaunt who arrived in Singapore in 1955, ten years before the country's independence, and who passed away in 2004. She was denied Singapore citizenship, stateless and trapped in Singapore for fifty years. The other work is a 3 video 6 audio channel-projection installation "And this is the lady and her pond” (2015-2018). This installation works with the voices and memories of 4 people in their 20s from Karachi and juxtaposes stories of an imagined homeland, lived trauma and family lore.
The second iteration opened May 3, 2018, with multilingual recitations by 4 members of the public of testimonials of people who I had encountered and interviewed. This iteration runs till the end of June and the installation focuses on the work "And the first chapter it begins with the horses." In this 32-min projection installation, one hears the listing of items imported into Pakistan by an elderly gentleman who had migrated from Bombay to Karachi post-Partition, and who has worked in customs in Karachi since the 1950s. It occupies the gallery with remnants of the work "You think it over slowly, slowly choose ...“ from the first iteration.
The last iteration, running from October 2018-March 2019, revisits "You think it over slowly, slowly choose ...“(2018). In this iteration, the tissue prints are removed. In their place, a 4-channel text and video projection emerges. Based on conversations between the grandaunt's son, an aunt, and myself, the work continues to question the relationships between family and state, document and agency.
The exhibition is located in the Archaeology Library of the museum, putting my works in context and in conversation with the excavated artefacts and shards in the space.