I was born in 1975 in India, amidst the turmoil of the Emergency when the country faced its biggest existential crisis since independence. Over the next two years, the then PM took authority to rule by decree, cancelling elections, imprisoning opposing leaders and journalists, imposing total press censorship and committing several human rights violations. While I was too young to fathom the events that unfolded during that period, I recognise the deep scars that they left on our political and social landscape for decades. History repeats itself now in the country, as civil liberties and democratic freedom face irrevocable danger from within, questioning voices are silenced, spurious conspiracies incited and inconvenient histories rewritten everyday.
I like to play with form and materiality as part of my art making process and often use photographic printmaking processes. With this work, I stepped away from the usual process of making Cyanotype prints, and folded and shaped the paper into various origami-esque forms. The chemistry and sun did the rest, retaining imprints of the form the paper was folded into; in this case objects and symbols that reference the divisive and sectarian agendas of my country’s political parties.
This series of Cyanotypes interrogate the imprints of injustice and the indelible fractures that autocratic regimes leave on a democracy’s psyche. The work hopes to counter the erasure of memory, urging the viewer to look beyond compelling nationalistic rhetoric and often repetitive discourse proclaiming their version of truth.