For working with the Assam State Museum, which was founded by the Kamrupa Anusandhan Samiti in 1940 and was taken over by the Government of Assam in 1953. Currently, the museum has 14 galleries with a collection of over 15,000 objects from the region. This fellowship to Desire Machine Collective supports the creation of a new discourse around the museum and its collection. The project aims to ‘de-colonise’ the cultural memory in the museum and open up the space for popular and indigenous knowledges, re-imagining Assam both in its geographical and historical construct, as a link that connects South with Southeast Asia. The outcome will be a series of events around objects from the entire collection in the museum throughout the year including artistic interventions, installations, exhibitions, workshops, presentations, talks and video screenings.
For research into four performative practices of the Char-Chapori Muslims of lower Assam namely, Lathibari, Naukhela, Gasshi Rati and Kobi Bayati. The project aims to explore the history of these cultural practices in the light of historical, political and religious pressures that have often questioned their legitimacy in the region. The outcome of the grant will be a set of four films.
For a physical theatre performance piece towards creating a personal vocabulary of movement and theatre. Based on impressions of the social, cultural and spiritual life on the river island Majuli in Assam, the performance through the medium of physical theatre will bring together movement, voice, image, light, costume and set design to evoke the spirit of the island.
For a three-month workshop to enable four young theatre directors from Assam to develop productions that critically engage with the socio-political changes and cultural diversity of the region. The directors and their team members will tour together to present the newly created work in their respective home towns and share their theatre-making experience with local audiences.
For the production of a series of films and the curation of workshops and screenings through which a group of ten to fifteen young filmmakers will be trained to create site-specific moving image content. The objective is to generate audio-visual imagery that explores the cinematic form and engages the cultural, political and historical context of Assam from a location grounded within the region, dispelling the prevalent myth of the Northeast as peripheral within a national context.
For research towards the construction of a raft-like structure in collaboration with bamboo artisans and boat-builders in Guwahati and the curation of a journey on the Brahmaputra, during which the raft will function as a mobile, habitable receptacle to gather, share and document stories, songs and local knowledge about food and ecology.
For a three-month workshop to enable six young theatre directors from Assam to develop productions that critically engage with socio-political changes and cultural diversity in the region. Following this, the directors and their teams will tour to present the newly created performances in their respective hometowns and share their theatre-making experience with local audiences.
For completing the photographic documentation of manuscript paintings held in Vaishnavite monasteries and private collections in Assam. A digital catalogue of scanned paintings will be made available to users through the Assam State Museum, Guwahati.
For the photographic documentation of the manuscript paintings of Assam held in Vaishnavite monasteries and private collections. Approximately 5,000 folios will be photographed and stored in a digital database at the Assam State Museum.