Duration: 11 min 16 sec
Watch trailer here
On June 22, 2017, 15 years old, Junaid Khan was stabbed to death on a Delhi-Mathura train after an argument over seats turned ugly. Junaid was returning home from Eid shopping with his cousin Hashim and two friends, Moin and Mohsin. In 2019, two years after his death, the video reflects on the political debate around beef-eating, what it means to be visibly Muslim in India and the current hostility of the state towards the ‘other’. The video pieces together a recipe laced with development claims and false calls for togetherness amidst a poignant remembrance of Junaid Khan, whose favourite food was Soyabean Biryani. While amnesia grips the Secular Democratic Republic of India, this video makes a case to pause, reflect and take note.
Vidha Saumya’s cross-stitched works are ‘digital drawings’. These ‘digital drawings’ often begin with a found photograph – an exploding bus in a national protest, shattered window panes in a conflict zone, a peaceful sky over a war zone, or the rose bush outside her window. They are ‘digital’ not only because they pixelate an otherwise clear digital image with cross stitches but also because they scramble and dirty the visual data. With cross-stitches, she re-creates our delicate and overwhelming digital media.
Cross-stitch, one of the oldest and most versatile artistic media – makes the works at once tactile and distant. The stitches, which work like a moving screen of mosaics, play with the viewers’ sense of depth, adding an illusion of animation. Explosions, skies, wounds, flowers – the chosen images trigger universal emotions. When screened through the stitches, the meanings and pleasures become unique for each viewer beyond citing source images.
While recovering from an illness, we build around us a membrane that helps us heal. The membrane, made of touch, conversations, bodies, medicines, memory and care creates a surface that protects. The convalescent nature of grief, illness or a broken relationship is held together in the drawing by an assemblage of bodies and their undecipherable relationships.