SOAS Library Exhibition: Gallery Walk and Talk

Key information

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Russell Square: College Buildings
SOAS Library and Khalili Lecture Theatre
Event type

About this event

Dr Sanjukta Ghosh (SSAI) and Nazes Afroz

Launch Summary

Marking the beginning of the 50th year of SOAS Library, ‘Unlocking SOAS Collections’ offers the opportunity to engage with audio-visual sources that enrich conventional scholarship and research methods. The Wolfson Gallery exhibition on Narratives of Refugee Memories curated by Sanjukta Ghosh provides the creative lens to look again at the archives of Partition in 1947 and the post Partition settlement history of displaced people of South Asia and beyond. The emotive history of refuge speaks out loud from a visual line-up of displaced objects, that are framed in a narrative of ‘home away from home.' Such stories are also connected to a global history of poverty, challenged by the emerging journalism of social reportage in the post Second World War decades. The Wolfson gallery comes alive with a Special Collection of anonymous photo prints, newsletters and illustrations collected from the enormous reels of paper documenting the cross-continental War on Want that impacted the lives of South Asians displaced by Partition and its everlasting legacy. The long shadow of South Asian displacement of millions across borders merges with the timeline of the development of each newly born nation-state – Pakistan, the Republic of India (celebrating 75 years of Independence), and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Memories of displacement are unearthed in the most unexpected quarters such as among the Asian minorities living in Africa, such as their expulsion from Uganda; or those who flee poverty, social and cultural pressures emanating from the effects of ‘partitioned’ families and seeking refuge in the UK.

West Wall Gallery Walk and Talk

Nazes Afroz, the former Executive Editor for the South and Central Asia region of the BBC World Service has curated the West Wall exhibition Uncertain Landscapes: The Refugee Experience of Kolkata which features his photos and research showcasing the trajectory of refugee memories in the city. He writes:

'The migration of millions of displaced people from East Pakistan to West Bengal started seventy-five years ago following the partition of Bengal in 1947. Most of them reached Kolkata, which was not prepared to deal with the influx of these ‘refugees’. A large number of them declined the government's offer to relocate them to the forest areas of Central India, the Andaman Islands or the Sundarbans. Instead, they chose to build their lives against all adversities when they squatted in the districts surrounding the city – in 24 Parganas and Nadia. Thus, came into being the squatters’ colonies or the ‘refugee colonies’ as they were commonly called, which subsequently would become the principal signposts of refugee presence in the state of West Bengal.'

The talk by Nazes Afroz is held in the Khalil Lecture Theatre following the gallery walk.

Please note - No food or drinks allowed inside the Library.


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