The enigma of root probes, stories shared through art and archeology
Archeology involves the study and analysis of found objects and artifacts extracted from the earth. The process involves the creation of meaning, the triangulation of research and storytelling. Everything we understand about the evolution of humanity and society, especially from the prehistoric context, is due to archaeological discoveries. The Sindhu Project embodies contemporary artists Mahwish Chishty and Gunjan Kumar’s responses to explorations of archaeological sites and artefacts in the vast Sindhu (Indus) watershed, a geographic region that spans present-day India and Pakistan. Chishty and Kumar are both from the undivided province of Punjab in India. And both emigrated to the United States. Through parallel journeys involving family roots and enigmas of inhabited places through time, they carry out research in the Taxila Valley in Pakistan and in Sanghol and Dholavira in India. The Sindhu project: the enigma of the roots is a multi-site exhibition that debuted at the South Asia Institute in Chicago, USA in June 2021, after which it was shown in Lahore, Pakistan in November 2021.
The use of broken terracotta tiles, the dividing of artworks for separate exhibitions in Pakistan and India, and empty spaces in the exhibition that indicate “missing” parts, are all strongly rooted in the very event of the partition of the country in 1947. .
We talk to Gunjan Kumar and Shaleen Wadhwana, curator of the ongoing Indian iteration hosted at Exhibit320 gallery in New Delhi.