Artist and Filmmaker Afrah Shafiq will present her multimedia artwork ‘Sultana’s Reality’ and talk about the process of remixing history, archives and the form of the Internet.
“A few years back I was awarded a fellowship by the India Foundation for the Arts, through which I was given access to an amazing archive of images at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences in Calcutta, and the freedom to make pretty much whatever I liked from them. I decided to study how women were depicted in these images – across medium, period and form. This study threw up some undeniably recurrent (and sometimes hilarious) patterns in the imagination of the female form – and a chance to wonder why those patterns existed and how I would like to play with them. I ended up making an interactive, digital web-story entirely out of the images from this archive – bringing them to life through animated video, graphics, gif’s, comics, collages and other digital art forms made by collating, re-mixing, re-interpreting and re-imagining these traditional visual imaginations of the female form.” says Afrah, about the project.
Drawing from the popular short story ‘Sultana’s Dream’ written in 1905 by Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossein, Sultana’s Reality takes a trip into history to explore the relationship between women and books in India. Following an Alice in Wonderland style adventure the story is stitched together with accounts of different women – who would rather nap than read, who were stoned in the streets for wearing shoes and carrying umbrellas, who read forbidden texts in secret at night, who read and then challenged the very ideas they read… and those who went on to write books – telling their story in their own words.