Working Towards a Politics of Borderlessness
MELBOURNE, Australia — “It’s a disgrace that you simply can’t think about past your foolish little flag,” a mellow voice lilts over a cosmic backdrop. Because the hypnotic background music hastens and gently reverberates, area carriers zoom towards an invisible horizon over the snowy peaks of Mount Everest. That is a part of Yakthung artist Subash Thebe Limbu’s work in Okkoota ಒಕ್ಕೂಟ, a bunch exhibition curated by Bangalore-based Dalit artist Vishal Kumaraswamy, and a part of a sustained collaboration between Kumaraswamy and Melbourne arts establishment Arts Home. That means “gathering” in Kannada, Okkoota ಒಕ್ಕೂಟ was composed of works by 12 artists residing in Australia and South Asia that spotlight the atrocities of caste-based discrimination and make a collective assertion towards colonial energy. Standouts included Phuong Ngo’s haunting tableau of Vietnamese displacement, as empty hammocks rock subsequent to blown-up pictures of kid refugees, Shareeka Helaluddin’s immersive soundscape within the venue’s clock tower, and Moonis Ahmad’s mourning for disappearance, through which an automatic, paperless typewriter typed out the names of the undocumented, in addition to Limbu’s above-mentioned sci-fi documentary Ningwasum (2021).
However it’s troublesome to single out the “greatest” work in a present foregrounding notions of collectivism and decoloniality. Just like the constructions that undergird colonial capitalist energy worldwide, the artworks had been intertwined; you simply needed to take all of it in and join the dots. Even when a time period akin to “decoloniality” might now sound like an empty signifier within the artwork world, Okkoota ಒಕ್ಕೂಟ refused to conceptualize the present as an educational object lesson. Neither did it co-opt the politics of decoloniality to aestheticize them. Any skepticism was dispelled upon entry, when guests realized that everything of Arts Home, which is thought for efficiency and takes its residence within the austere North Melbourne City Corridor, had been tailored to swimsuit the present, as a substitute of the opposite approach spherical.
A way of directness emanated from every work. Within the lobby, on the proper hand wall and over two columns, was Rahee Punyashloka’s “contextualising the protagonist,” made up of daring black decal letters that proclaim Dalit marginalization. Look down and also you’d discover Lara Chamas’s diptych, its elements titled “Pomegranate and Different Ammunition” and “instruments that He made, for my mama to feed us” (each 2021), respectively, blurring the road between homely objects and wartime weapons. A black curtain led to a different room; as guests walked by way of the darkened area into stunning corners, Arts Home’s most important efficiency area was reworked right into a maze of kinds. Generally the works actually spoke to one another, as when Shah’s piece click-clacked towards the distorted sounds of Punyashloka’s affecting “Tannerfilm#1” (2023) upstairs. It was not essentially harmonious, which was the purpose.
To attract a commonality between Hindu fundamentalist India and settler-colony Australia is under no circumstances far-fetched. From there, we are able to consider Israel, the USA, South Africa, China, Singapore, and so forth. Indigenous and Dalit individuals all over the place have been subjected to numerous depredations, recorded or in any other case. In Australia, a paranoid nation-state nonetheless largely wracked by an inward-looking parochial demeanor, Okkoota ಒಕ್ಕೂಟ refreshingly inspired a globalist view of Indigeneity — regardless of various contexts and circumstances, the ability constructions and immiseration are related. And it is just by way of this recognition that we are able to actually work towards a politics of borderlessness. It’s harking back to what the writer of the anti-caste urtext Annihilation of Caste, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, as soon as wrote: “This spirit of defending its personal curiosity is as a lot a marked function of the totally different castes of their isolation from each other as it’s of countries of their isolation.”