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To Draw The Line: Partitions, Dissonance, Art – A Case for South Asia

  • Wed, 15 Nov 2017
  • 10.00 AM - 5.00 PM
  • Tickets: Tickets from EventBrite

Tickets available on Eventbrite

 A one-day symposium marking the seventieth anniversary of the Independence of India and Pakistan from British rule. 

Partition ‘remains a festering wound in the collective psyche of South Asia’ – Bhaskar Sarkar

This symposium will examine the contested histories of Partitions in South Asia. With an emphasis on memory and the line, the map and the museum, artists, art historians and Partition scholars will address some of the key issues and debates surrounding the Partition of British India in 1947, the creation of India and Pakistan, and the subsequent Bangladeshi War of Independence in 1972.

The line may refer to the Radcliffe Line, demarcating the newly formed boundaries of India and East and West Pakistan in 1947; it may also refer to the Line of Control, the contested borderline of present-day Kashmir; but it can also be thought of conceptually: as a decolonial device; a fibrous linkage between pasts, present and future.

In 1947 drawing a line had devastating consequences for the displacement of millions leading to millions of deaths and lasting trauma. The legacies of such trauma are only just beginning to be recognised. Through artist’s performances, presentations and papers, we will discuss such themes as gendered experiences of violence; silences in the archive; transgressions in the Borderzone; and the global legacies of British colonialism.

Although the events surrounding the Independence of India and Pakistan in 1947 will be central to discussions, we are keen to think more broadly and address other divisions, conflicts, or schisms affecting the region - including the violent conflicts and postcolonial legacies in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 

As such, To Draw the Line will take a speculative approach to the concept of ‘partition’, and will probe the legacies of partitions in South Asia, and their formative impact on current British art and politics.

Confirmed speakers include: 

  • Nilofar Akmut (artist)
  • Mohini Chandra (artist)
  • Alice Correia (University of Salford)
  • Natasha Eaton (University College London)
  • Zehra Jumabhoy (Courtauld Institute)
  • Raisa Kabir (artist)
  • Raminder Kaur Kahlon (University of Sussex)
  • Naiza Khan (artist)
  • Pippa Virdee (DeMontford University)
  • Karin Zitzewitz (Michigan State University)

Thanks to funding from the Arts Council England and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, we are delighted that this symposium is FREE to attend and lunch and refreshments will be included. If you book a ticket but are subsequently unable to attend please cancel your registration so that we can monitor catering requirements. 

This symposium is scheduled to coincide with the launch of the special issue of the journal Third Text, titled Partitions: To Draw the Line, co-edited by Natasha Eaton and Alice Correia. Contributors to the Special Issue include Saloni Mathur; Sonal Khullar; Kajri Jain; Karin Zitzewitz; Devika Singh and Sumathi Ramaswamy amongst others. Copies of the Third TextSpecial issue will be available to purchase at the symposium. 

Supported by Paul Mellon Centre for studies in British Art & Arts Council England 



How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

If you have any general questions about this event, please contact Third Text: 

Third Text
Unit 6, Enclave Studios
50 Resolution Way


If you have more specific questions about the symposium themes and participants, please contact: 

Alice Correia

Tickets available on Eventbrite

IMAGE: Nilofar Akmut, Mapping Ourselves, 1992, mixed media installation, dimensions unknown, collection of the artist, photo: courtesy the artist

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