SOAS University of London

A Passage Through Passages

10 December 2019

On roads in South Asia

17 January – 21 March 2020

This exhibition takes us on new and recently rebuilt roads across South Asian regions of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India. It travels through the early twentieth century to the central-Indian "Nagpur Road Plan" of 1943 before heading to the hope, promise, acceleration and hubris of later decades. It takes now-impossible journeys across nation-states, on roads after and before conflicts, and onto coralline oceanic edges.

Endoscopic views from the interior of the road system, and forays across the porous membranes through which pride, money, data, climate and vulnerability are connected to it, heighten our sense of developmental possibility, failure, and the deep ambiguity of road achievements. ‘A PASSAGE THROUGH PASSAGES’ is inspired by ethnographic and archival work in five field sites.

A multi-screen film work by CAMP, an internationally-renowned artist group based in Mumbai, is a central feature of the exhibition. CAMP was founded in Mumbai in 2007 and has been producing provocative new work in video and film, electronic media, and public art forms. Their sustained projects have entered modern social and technical assemblies: energy, communication and surveillance systems, neighbourhoods, ships, archives – things much larger than itself. See more at

This exhibition is part of Roads and the Politics of Thought, a European Research Council (No. 616393) funded, 5-year ethnographic study of road-building in South Asia led by Edward Simpson (SOAS) supporting an inter-disciplinary team of researchers, curators and administrators from five countries. Further details of The Roads Project can be found at

A programme of talks, discussions and other events will accompany the exhibition.

OPEN: Tuesday – Saturday 10.30 – 17.00 (Thurs late until 20.00)
CLOSED: Sunday & Monday


For further information, contact:

T. 020 7898 4046 (recorded information)