Through practices of hand-stitching, Yaad Karo considers the history of migration that links the artist’s personal history to the indentured labour communities of India and the Pacific.
By Shivanjani Lal
27 Mar - 13 Apr 2019
Yaad Karo: To remember, to stitch together and piece fragments of history for both collective and individual remembrance. To recenter knowledge, to account for colonial and personal histories. To allow something invisible to become visible. To hold space for ancestors – past, present and future.
Yaad Karo is a new work by Shivanjani Lal which looks at the history of migration that links her personal history to the indentured labour communities of India and the Pacific. Through a process-driven practice that uses labour as a tool to account for the trajectories of labour across oceans, Lal uses stitching to create visible links that record the journeys made by her community and herself: connecting and remaking the lines of connection. In looking at shipping documents and in using a map which centres Australia between these oceans, she reframes this history by acknowledging the role of Australia as the localised colonial presence.
Shivanjani Lal is a twice removed Fijian Indian Australian artist whose history is intrinsically linked to the indentured labour diaspora of Asia and the Pacific. She works across mediums to explore her cultural dislocation, which seeks to account for memory, erasure, healing, and the archive.
Currently Lal uses spatial and material activations along with video to create documents which analyse her personal narratives in the broader context of the social history which brought her family from India to Fiji and now to Australia. This is done in an effort to redefine the history of the Indo-Fijian Community away from the narratives produced by the current political climate in both Fiji and India.
Her current research posits that history has obliterated and obfuscated the communal memory of her community but that her body and the landscapes she is from hold onto both.