Home 1947


Home 1947

Home 1947 investigated the concept of home and a sense of self within the larger narrative of the partition of the Subcontinent. Conceptualized by Sha

Art for Education: Contemporary Artists of Pakistan at Museo Diocesano Carlo Maria Martini
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Out of Her Shell, In Her [skin]

Home 1947 investigated the concept of home and a sense of self within the larger narrative of the partition of the Subcontinent. Conceptualized by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Home 1947 was an immersive experience that essayed the vagaries of home and the nuanced disclosure of human pursuit. Narratives surrounding Partition have been actively consumed by us in classrooms. The romanticization of struggle and loss, for the singular desire of a new home. Rarely is history explored through personal narratives. In it’s infantile stage history functions as a commodity. It needs to be consumed for ensure a thematic closure. The dichotomy of human experience and history functions on a flippant paradox. While history chronicles the advent, it alienates the human experience. “You read the textbooks, you see the news reports or watch archival footage, but everything is from the political point of view. What about the lives they left? The conversations they never finished? The scent of jasmine outside their bedroom window?”[1]


The manifestation of history and it’s passive invocations results in a generalized sentiment one ascribes to the state and it’s adversaries. This is perhaps an inadvertent observation but cricket being a sport the nation enjoys in complete solidarity to state is perhaps a testament to the unwavering sentiments carved out through a passive experience of history. Pakistan and Indian cricket matches become these theatric odeums rife with unbridled animosity. It becomes a continuity of the politics of Partition. These sentiments are a product of how we consume history, and unwittingly we carve our enemies through that process. Perhaps the notion of national sports is tied to patriotism but the dialogue becomes more nuanced when looking at Pakistan and Bangladesh matches; there is no unbridled desire to win there, it is met with astute nonchalance. Perhaps it is important to note that our consumption of history rarely explores the partition from East Pakistan, it is largely committed from the model of history we consume in classrooms, hence the lack of sentiment attached towards it. History merely becomes an act of erasure. The consumption of it in a passive sense carves personal sentiments.


The way we consume history is severely restricted, which is why Home 1947 plays a crucial role in revising these narratives especially while attaching a human experience to it. The sense of loss, relocation and investigations into the concept of home inform larger narratives. While the boundaries of home are devised in a political context through demarcation of land; the confines of our home are regulated through state but how does one reconcile with experience of home, the nostalgic associations of it. The home that resigned as a martyr in the due course of partition.


The immersive experience meandered within fleeting manner in which we think of memories; hallowed passages, braids swinging with frivolous abandon, sounds that puncture through darkness, silence that settles within objects, the barren homes that echo with solitude, the songs of glee and melancholy alike..


Home 1947 escapes from the rigor of state-regulated narratives, it seeps into the mundane lull of human experience. An interpretation of history mediated through personal memoirs. Escaping from the institutionalization of history it allows one to attach a human face to the partition of 1947.


In a larger sense Home 1947 essays the concept of home in an intimate sense, and in our current political climate the concept of relocation and war and refuge are pertinent. This offers an intimate inquisition into these concepts and can be used as comparative tools to examine the sense of loss through  a collective human experience.


It allows one to confront history in a unique manner, allowing for a nuanced sensitivity towards the experience. It made us emote, rather than callously learn how to carve out our enemies. The absolution of objectivity was absent, it was a sentient experience that payed homage to the lives of those present, the turbulence of loss, the fear of the unknown, and the experience of home.





[1]    https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jun/27/sharmeen-obaid-chinoy-home-1947-installation-manchester-international-festival-pakistan