‘Euphoria and Trauma’: Filmmaker Sutapa Biswas Explores Colonial Histories in New Solo Exhibition in Shoreditch

Production still of Sutapa Biswas Lumen2021. Photography: Carlotta Cardana

The Shoreditch Autograph Gallery will host the London premiere of Lumena critically acclaimed film by artist Sutapa Biswas.

The 30-minute film, which can be viewed for free at the gallery from today until June 4, explores the female experience as a vector of social consciousness.

Born in India and educated in the UK, Biswas’ art is inspired by her interest in colonial histories and how they inform stories about gender, race and class.

The curator of the exhibition, Professor Mark Sealy, said: “Sutapa Biswas is a pioneering artist confronting important questions of colonial and diasporic history.

“Through Biswas’ work, memory, time, politics and history are combined into a composite visual experience that challenges our present.

Lumen is a visual journey that takes us all to a new place of contemplation and understanding.

Lumen is inspired by the artist’s journey from Mumbai to Dover in the 1960s. Image: courtesy autograph

Lumen seeks to highlight the butterfly effect of complicated colonial pasts, including their ramifications today and in the future.

The critically acclaimed film, commissioned in partnership with Film and Video Umbrella, opens with the story of a baby emerging from a womb and ends with the female protagonist embarking on a journey through uncharted waters.

The work is inspired by Biswas’ boat trip with his family from Mumbai to Dover in the 1960s. It highlights these memories and recalls the experiences of the artist’s mother and grandmother, told to through a monologue read by actress Natasha Patel.

Steven Bode, Director of Film and Video Umbrella, said: “Lumen is the name of a unit of light – a gradient of radiation. It is also an anatomical term for a body cavity or conduit, such as an artery, along which blood flows.

“These two meanings converge in the metaphor of ‘light at the end of a tunnel’ – an expression that helps light a path in Sutapa Biswas’ film Lumenstaging its fluctuations of light and darkness, its alternations of states of euphoria and trauma, its lurches between poetry and pathology.

For more information and to book tickets, visit autograph.org.uk.

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