Nirmal Sajid


Video Thesis


Memory, abandonment and displacement are the main themes of my work. My work revolves around the verse of my Nana (maternal grandfather):

"Kuch is tarha tai ki hain hum ne apni manzilein
chal kar giray gir kar uthay"
This is how we wrote our destiny
We rise
We fall
And we rise again

Which describes the struggle, suffering and the rebuilding of life again.

I started my work from the concept of ‘Dastangoi’, the art of storytelling. I related it to my personal life that how we as a children used to listen to stories of our ancestors and all those stories had a common thread of “the partition”. The catastrophic mass migration that led people to uproot their lives turning them into refugees overnight has generated many discussions, works of art, literature, poetry, music and films.

To me those Dastaans were significant since my curiosity to learn about my grandfather’s migration chronicle aroused a desire to know more; and I started transcribing those oral narratives into visual form, not only to preserve them but to pass them on intergenerationally.

The intent was to comment on how we hold on to memories, traumatic or otherwise. The objects designed and developed are proposed to be used as a container for preserving treasured memories.

The collection has been named as ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ which includes memory trunks and statement pieces, which narrate the journey of a migrant family. These pieces have been designed to be used as not only for utilitarian purposes but for decorative purposes.

Each object articulates its own story.

The title is a combination of two words ‘Cabinet’ which is used is used to store/displaying thing, while ‘Curiosity’ means the desire to know something. The name itself has a story, that how as a child I was being curious of knowing about the stories (partition stories) of my maternal grandfather.

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