Starting from the complex socio-political relationship between India and Pakistan, I don’t want to be there when it happens, currently on display at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) until 24 December, investigates, in a broader sense, the psychology of trauma in an era of perpetual conflict.
A number of problems and contradictions are challenging the world in recent years: a diffused sense of inequality, systemic poverty connected with violence and crime, military imperialism, and the phenomenon of migration, which has now reached the dimension of a mass, multi-origin diaspora.
2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the Partition of Colonial India (14 August 1947) that saw the departing British colonial powers divide the country: West of the Partition became Muslim-majority Pakistan, while the rest of the country was demarcated as Hindu-majority India. The partition led to one of the greatest forced mass migrations in human history – resulting in more than one million deaths.
In response to the anniversary of the Partition, this exhibition features artists from both Pakistan and India whose evocative practices convey the profound existential unease of our age, either directly or indirectly. They unravel the present time, dealing with the legacy of history, as well as foretelling the future.
Curated by Mikala Tai, Kate Warren, and Eugenio Viola, artworks include Adeela Suleman’s elegant hand-beaten chandelier (pictured), that uses her ubiquitous dead bird motifs to subtly recall suicide bombings in Pakistan, and Abdullah Syed’s disquieting installation of suspended drones made of razor blades. Works by David Chesworth and Sonia Leber, Raqs Media Collective, Reena Saini Kallat, Raj Kumar, and Mithu Sen also feature.
I don’t want to be there when it happens is organised in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney.
I don’t want to be there when it happens
PICA – Perth Cultural Centre, 51 James Street, Northbridge
Exhibition: 11 November – 24 December 2017
For more information, visit: www.pica.org.au for details.
Image: Adeela Suleman, After all it’s always someone else who dies, 2017. Hanging steel, dimensions variable, installation view. This artwork has been commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney and supported by The Keir Foundation – photo by Kai Wasikowski