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.
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.
The poem, ‘Reading List’, painted as a wall mural, proposes a list of 96 authors from India who should be in global reading lists. This list is potentially endless.
As I read my way through list after list, helpfully extended towards me by institutions, visiting lecturers, and seminars in Finland, I encountered many silences. And to mend those silences, these names were my instinctual response.
Here, I urge you to make a new list or to add to this, those authors that you find missing in curatorial, artistic and institutional reading lists today. Because your silences will be different than mine.
The layered effect of the mural is inspired by the round the clock construction work in cities as much as the walls of institutions that hold space for voices to express and to dissent in the form of posters, graffiti, and signs.
‘Reading List’ by Vidha Saumya, is the first work in a series of artistic commissions at Frame Contemporary Art Finland’s office space. These works are commissioned in the context of Rehearsing Hospitalities public programme for 2019-2023. Rehearsing Hospitalities connects artists, curators and other practitioners in the field of contemporary art and beyond to build up and mediate new practices, understandings and engagements with diverse hospitalities.