Broken Columns: Chicago based Indian artist takes petrifying stories of Partition overseas

Artist Pritika Chowdhry have been moulding the poignant stories of India’s partition in Broken Columns which is made up of latex molds taken from monuments in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. 

Her art exhibition showcases around a dozen exhibits which are displayed at a gallery in Chicago, USA. Titled Broken Columns, Chowdhry has gathered latex moulds of the Minar-e-Pakistan monument in Pakistan, the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial in Bangladesh and the Jallianwala Bagh in India. 

According to her, Latex moulds are sandwiched in cheese cloth, they are like living skin with a fingerprint of the monument. She has captured every last tobacco stain or dirt on that section of the wall. Once detached from the monument, it becomes an object of its own. 

Being an artist and auteur of her work, she can then inscribe it and tell a different story as it was experienced by many families. 

She was moved to the core after hearing the tales her mother revealed of her family’s personal experience during the partition, the Chicago-based artist began creating art that spoke about the suffering they faced. She created anti-memorials or counter monuments that is attributed to the memories of the partition that have been suppressed. 

As of now there is hardly any official monument to the partition of our country. But she believes that these monuments serve both purposes — overtly they reflect one particular event, but covertly, they immortalize the whole partition event as well.

It is surprising to know that knowledge of the partition in overseas,  even among Indian diaspora is feeble, hence it is worthwhile to put the event in context for the NRIs as well as Americans. 

She alludes that a lot of the Indians who come to the exhibition don’t like it for the want of readiness to be self critical.

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