SOAS University of London

Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London

Crafting Subversion: DIY and Decolonial Print

Crafting Subversions poster

Date: 28 April 2022Time: 10:30 AM

Finishes: 3 September 2022Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery

Type of Event: Exhibition

SOAS’s Brunei Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition by Pragya Dhital of DIY and decolonial print and the simple duplication technology used to produce it, with focus on the ‘Gestetner’ stencil duplicator.

Stencil duplicating involves copies being made from a cut-out, patterned or lettered sheet (a stencil), through which paint or ink is applied onto paper. Originally invented for office work, its potentialities were quickly seized by those involved in underground print production across the world, from zines to Samizdat.

 With focus on literature produced in pre and post Independence India, the exhibition explores various attempts to forge connections between readers and writers beyond the purview of the state and the logic of the market through the medium of DIY print. The Indian literature is contextualized with reference to material from a wide range of archives, produced using low-tech printing and duplication processes.

The exhibition includes material from Asia Art Archive; Bruce Castle Museum’s Gestetner archives; pamphlets from the British Library’s collection of publications proscribed in colonial India; literature collected by Ram Dutt Tripathi, a former BBC journalist who was imprisoned during the Indian Emergency of 1975-77, and now digitised by the University of Goettingen’s Long Emergency project; little magazines edited by the poet and translator, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, and other publications from UCL’s collections of small press and samizdat literature, and an animated facsimile by Raqs Media Collective. 

Alongside the exhibition there will be a number of activities on the theme of Archives for Future History. These will include a reading group, film screenings, seminars, and artists’ demonstrations, and an end of exhibition workshop.

The exhibition emerges from Pragya’s research on censorship in India during the colonial period and internal Emergency, and wider interest in print history and experimental literature. For further information about the exhibition or any of these activities please contact her on: pd19@soas.ac.uk

Funded by the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies and supported by UCL Department of History. Poster design by Fraser Muggeridge Studio.

Please note that this exhibition contains language that may cause offence.

Organiser: Brunei Gallery, SOAS

Contact email: gallery@soas.ac.uk