In Memory of Future Protests
MIXED MEDIA ONLINE | 2022
Glimpses of individual pieces of embroidery, painting and the e-zine
In Memory of Future Protests is a series of fabulations and fictionalized moments from protests that the artist had been a part of. It invokes memories of past dissent-making, alerting us to the incoming future. The artworks are based on photographs taken by the artist at protest sites across Delhi and Calcutta spanning the years 2019-20. The years in which protests against the citizenship acts, NRC-CAA-NAA, grew across India.
This set of works, made with pastels, acrylics, wool, and cotton threads, tries to capture the dizzying blur that often whizzes past us when we are in the moment of making dissent. The embroideries made on coarse textiles are called ‘remembrance mats’. They are evidence of a life lived under a fascist regime. They are reminiscent of images we see in newspapers and on social media.
The recent spate of violent attacks against Muslims in India, conducted and celebrated by followers of Hindutva, determined its making. The zine, we are a conspiracy is a commemoration of Muskan Bibi Khan’s demonstration of immense courage in the face of fascist tyranny. There is no insignificant act in the fight against dehumanization.
I pursue the visuality of protests and play with it by using slow processes of making visual art, as have been historically done by women through embroideries, tapestries, weaving, and so on, to decelerate the pace of manufactured facts in a fascist regime. My project invokes the phantom hands that make objects of resistance which we archive, write about, and think with long after the protest is over.
About the artist
Intrigued by crafts, Debarati works with mediums and processes historically associated with women and studies their histories. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Art History at the CUNY, Graduate Center.