Urban Reimagined 2.0 brings together two distinct artistic interventions by Sahil Naik and Achia Anzi.
38 Sinkings | Sahil Naik
On 19 December 1961, Goa, along with Daman and Diu, was organised as a centrally administered union territory of India under Operation Vijay. Dayanand Bandodkar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) was named the first Chief Minister of Goa. His dream project—the Salaulim Dam was proposed by him in the 1960s. He promised the villagers that they would be shifted elsewhere since the villages of Kurdi and Kurpem in Sanguem Taluka and their smaller colonies of Stristal, Devabhag, Dhapode, Akrimal, Karemal, Talsai, Unan, Kaman etc would be submerged.
Bandodkar died in office in 1972. The project was commissioned and completed by his daughter and succeeding Chief Minister of Goa, Shashikala Kakodkar. The construction of the Modernist dam began in 1977, displacing over 3000 families and submerging the ancient villages. The villagers left their hearth and home to be rehabilitated in remote Valkini and Vaddem.
The waters submerged the villages in 1977-78.
Each April ever since, the village resurfaces until early June. The villages return to their homes with objects. They clean the remains of their homes. They perform rituals and pray at the ancient village temple. They sing.
Over the last three years Sahil Naik has been documenting the village of Curdi and her way of life that returns for a few months before it is submerged again.
At the Serendipity Arts Festival, life-photographs will act almost like entry-points, portals to a time lost—a memory tangible as a photograph. Naik will be producing sculptures in conversation with four families to recreate that which was lost using personal archives and memory—an exercise in returning to a memory of home, as it was left yesterday.
Image Courtesy - Sahil Naik
Colonial Times | Achia Anzi
Colonial Times is a site-specific, text-based project which has been conceived for Serendipity Art Festival 2019, Goa. The work will be installed on the balcony of Adil Shah Palace in the form of LED-neon text and will correspond with the colonial history of the building—which was built by the Muslim ruler of Bijapur, Yusuf Adil Shah around 1500, and the palace was conquered by the Portuguese army in 1510. Structured in the form of a sonnet which is hypothesised to have emerged in the Muslim court of Sicily—the proposed text is composed of extracts from five poems written by five different poets: the Jewish philosopher, Judah Leon Abravanel (1460 – 1530) who was expelled from Spain in 1492, the nationalist Indian poet of Portuguese origin, Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809 –1831), the Martiniqian poet, Aimé Césaire (1913 –2008), who was one of the founders of the Negritude movement, the Romanian Jewish poet and Holocaust survivor, Paul Celan (1920 – 1970), and the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish (1941 –2008). While the poems belong to different times and diverse spaces, they were all conceived from the margin of modernity and responded to the experience and logic of colonialism and coloniality. Furthermore, they all take issue, and not accidentally, with the notion of time.
The collage-form of Colonial Times imitates the apparatus of colonialist aesthetics. While the latter uproots and displaces artworks belonging to diverse cultures and forces them into universal categories such as aesthetics, art and literature, the poem provides a mirror image of modernity. Instead of a universal narrative of progress, the poem proposes a collective poesies of suffering narrated by those who inhabit the flip side of modernity: the Jews who were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492, the Martinique island which was “discovered” by Columbus in the following year, and the Subcontinent which was first colonised by the Portuguese at the turn of the sixteenth century. The logic that enabled the segregation of the Jews (and the Muslims) from the Christians in post-Reconquista Spain and Portugal was replicated, as Ella Shohat and Robert Stam contend, in the “New World” and justified the colonial expansion of Europe far and wide. This process culminated in the Holocaust of the European Jews, and persists nowadays not only in the form of Western economic and cultural domination, but also in the dispossession of various communities such as the Palestinians.
If coloniality, as Aníbal Quijano and Walter Mignolo forcefully argue, is the dark side of modernity, the later obsession with time and its insistence on its own contemporaneity (while portraying other cultural forms as archaic and not adequately modern) prepared the ground for both political and cultural oppression. In a nutshell, the spatial colonial expansion was (and is) facilitated by the colonization of time. The various responses of the poets to the horrors of time were organised in this poem according to the sonnet’s traditional structure. While the octave (the first eight lines) presents a thesis about time, the sestet (the last six lines) suggests a decolonial antithesis.