By 1945, two and a half million Indians had volunteered to take up arms for their British Colonial rulers during World War II (WWII). They fought in the mountains of Burma, the hills of Cassino, Italy and in the deserts of North Africa. They transported artillery, repaired jeeps, and, under enemy fire, retrieved and carried the wounded from the battlefield to safety. Thirty of them won Victoria crosses, and more than 87,000 died. Yet, in India and the world, they remain uncommemorated and unremembered.
Professor and Fulbright scholar Annu Palakunnathu Matthew will parse out the confluence of factors that played a role in this history complicated by Partition. Her photo-based artwork is a striking blend of still and moving imagery and draws on archival photographs as a source of inspiration to re-examine historical narratives. They enable her to interpret the “known” history in order to give the viewer the opportunity to question established narratives and consider parallel realities and hidden histories. Her presentation will include her recent work commissioned for the 2018 Kochi-Muziris Biennale, archival footage of the Indian soldiers in all three theaters and the work that led to this current project.
She is presently in India on a Fulbright, crowdsourcing photographs of the WW2 Indian soldiers from family’s photo albums. If you have some, bring them to be scanned at the event!
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew will be in conversation with Aditya Sondhi.