URI art professor explores the 1947 partition of India in latest exhibit

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KINGSTON, R.I. – Oct. 7, 2014 – Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, a photographer and professor of art at the University of Rhode Island, will show her work exploring the 1947 Partition of India at an exhibit on the Kingston campus.


An opening reception will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the University’s Fine Arts Center, 105 Upper College Road. Matthew will give a talk Oct. 21, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., in Room A101, also in the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit will stay up through Nov. 7.


Open Wound uses photo animations to explore the turmoil of families affected by the so-called Partition of India, during which 12 million people were displaced within three months and more than a million died. Unlike tragedies such as the Holocaust, there is no memorial about the Partition to call attention to the public to the tragedy.


Ramachandra Guha and other historians have written about repeated incidents of violence in India since 1947 – rooted in the initial trauma of the Partition. Matthew says it is important to honor and remember the people affected by what happened. It is also important to know India’s violent history so it won’t be repeated, she says.


“My work builds on the way old images reignite memories and, like a time machine, take us back to a different time,” she says. “The ephemeral animations in Open Wound are built from old family photographs combined with recent photographs of three or more generations and text narrating some of the families’ experiences. The animations weave in and out of time, allowing the viewer to simultaneously ponder India’s history and the impact of that on contemporary India.”


Pictured above

Photo courtesy of Annu Palakunnathu Matthew.