UNTOLD – The 70th Anniversary of the Partition of India, an Open Access project by Kom Achall

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Kom Achall (artist and Project Coordinator for Partition Line) was successful in receiving a Growth Award from Creative Black Country as part of Open Access for her project Partition Line.

Partition Line saw five exhibitions (collectively know as UNTOLD) take place across Wolverhampton in Newhampton Arts Centre (NAC), The Asylum Art Gallery, Bantock House Museum, Viner Gallery and Temple Street Studios/ Gallery, displaying artwork by 25 artists and 10 Spoken Word artists who took part in the project.

The exhibitions mark the commemoration of the Partition of India 70 years ago and the 70th Anniversary of Independence for India and Pakistan. Pakistan got Independence on the 14th of August 1947 and India on the 15th of August 1947.

For this post, Kom has written about her project and and what happened at each of the exhibition venues:

What an incredible week of UNTOLD art exhibitions marking the Partition of India, we started with a precursor to the main events back in July 2017 at the Viner gallery & Hutton Theatre which was a huge success.  Many thanks and gratitude to James Millichamp, Head of Art at Wolverhampton Grammar School, his support and dedication throughout the exhibition was wonderful. 

In August we went on to have 4 more opening nights.  Our second launch at Newhampton Arts Centre where we had the pleasure of MP, Eleanor Smith and Navin Mal, as well as dance artist, choreographer and arts consultant Jaivant Patel and singer-songwriter Amardeep Nanra. We were delighted by the interest and enthusiasm shown by the 250/300 people who came on the opening night. It was lovely seeing people appreciating the artwork throughout the exhibition week.  

Our third launch was at Bantock House Museum and again there were many visitors that came to see the UNTOLD art exhibition as well as explore the Edwardian house. One of the highlights was when an elderly gentleman, born in India, brought his photo album and shared his partition story/history with us.

Fourth opening was at Temple Street gallery where people enjoyed the artworks and engaged in an evening of sharing stories about the Partition of India and other historical partitions that had happened across the world. Anita Rani’s documentary ‘My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947 – Series 1’ had just been shown on BBC ONE and there was much talk and discussion about the catastrophic events around partition and the documentary.  

We ended our final night at Asylum Art gallery with spoken word led by Simon Fletcher who runs ‘City Voices’ and Offa’s Press. A performance art piece by Emily Scarrott brought home the reality of the partition line and a poignant photography exhibition captured the influences of western rule in India and Bangladesh, what a moving, thought provoking night of poetry and rhyme.

I/We would like to thank Creative Black Country, all the amazing, creative artists that took part, plus all the gallery spaces and staff for their support and kindness throughout the project.

Komlaish Achall

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