Since it was formed in 1989, Sahmat has brought together diverse artists, performers, and writers on a common programme of resistance against attacks on freedom of artistic expression and dissent. Today, as the idea of India is being revamped into a singular, homogenised nation, severed from its composite and diverse heritage, ICF celebrates plurality and building of political solidarity of cultural expression.
In this ten-part series, the Indian Cultural Forum will showcase Sahmat’s work over the years — in visual, theatrical, musical or written form.
Ways of Resisting
Against Sectarian and Communal Violence
Featuring modes of opposing political and social forces of religious fundamentalism through installations, videos, paintings, photographs, and archival material, one of the curatorial aims of this exhibition was to develop a critical language that reflected and critiqued the distortion of democratic and secular values, and the parodying of these values by the then ruling coalition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Unfortunately, to this day, not much has changed. Today, September 28th, marks 5 years since Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched — 5 years since the social fabric of the country was ruthlessly changed forever, followed by countless incidents of lynching and violence against Muslims and other minorities. Akhlaq was beaten to death by a mob led by Hindu outfits in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri, over suspicion of possessing beef. The 18 accused were released on bail and subsequently invited to CM Yogi Adityanath’s election rallies.