Never Set Eyes on The Land: Stephen Lawrence Gallery

In 2018 we created an exhibition in a travelling shipping container with Nutkhut, to tell the story of the 1947 Partition of India. In 2019 we had the chance to recreate the work and develop it, for a three month run at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery in Greenwich, South East London.

We opted for a broad creative approach, by asking ourselves questions about the future of museums, teaching history and sharing stories. A vital element to this process was the continuation our work with Nutkhut to share the oral history interviews of Partition survivors. The Partition of India in 1947 resulted in the largest mass migration in human history. 14 million Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, and were displaced, lighting the fuse for a series of events that not only changed the Sub-Continent but also Britain forever. Partition carries a living legacy in the UK and across the world and this is one of the last opportunities to hear and learn directly from the generation who experienced this climatic upheaval.

Audiences were invited through the gallery doors into a 1940’s middle class, Indian kitchen, left as if in a hurry. The story was communicated through space and conversation: documents printed into chapatti, timelines woven into suitcases, oral histories playing through radios and animated maps projected on water. The audience was than lead to the reflection area and offered a hot cup of chai whilst they read books around the subject and shared their written responses.

It was supported by Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and in partner with The National Archives.


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