BRIEF project statement
This anti-memorial is an ongoing site-specific, research-based art project that interrogates the role of public monuments in the formation of collective memory. This project triangulates monuments built in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India, to commemorate the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919, the Partition of India in 1947 and the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The primary sites of my research are the Minar-e-Pakistan memorial, in Lahore, Pakistan; the Martyred Intellectuals memorial, in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Punjab, India.
These "sites of memory" or lieux-de-memoires are architectural palimpsests where memories and counter-memories of multiple events have sedimented over time. This project investigates how collective memories of the massacre of 1919, and the partitions of 1947 and 1971 are made legible or erased through these monuments, and if these monuments can be triangulated to function as a “memory triad” that connects as well as exceeds their individual historical contexts.
Latex and silicone casts of sections of the monuments such as stairs, walls, doors, niches, and ornaments, capture details and textures of intimate spaces within the larger architecture. The skin-like materials make the “body” of the monument accessible in a corporeal manner. I think of these casts as the “skin” of the monuments which reveal every mark, stain, and blemish that has accumulated on its surfaces since it was constructed.
This installation attempts a metaphoric triangulation of the three "sites of memory" by juxtaposing the corporeal remains of these monuments and bridging the geographical and political disconnect between these monuments and the countries in which they exist.
Come along with me to Lahore, Pakistan, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, as I make latex and silicone casts of the Minar-e-Pakistan, Martyred Intellectuals memorial, Jalladkhana memorial, and the Liberation War museum.
Broken Column, Lahore edition by Pritika Chowdhry
Broken Column, Dhaka edition by Pritika Chowdhry