Muse: Aanchal Malhotra

Seventy years of Independence… Seventy year old stories. Accumulated in memory, in people and in their belongings. One woman who takes up the initiative of figuring out this history through a majorly unexplored medium… The people themselves who went through it.

A multidisciplinary artist, writer and oral historian living in New Delhi, India, Aanchal is the third generation of the renowned Baharison’s Booksellers. She grew  up surrounded by books and the written word…

“Remnants of a Separation” is Aanchal Malhotra’s MFA thesis, which began in 2013 and was first exhibited at the FoFA Gallery, Montréal in the fall of 2015. “Remnants of a Separation” is an Oral History archive focusing on material memory. It is the first and only material study of the Partition of India, taking into consideration those objects that refugees brought with them when they migrated across the border, those objects that were left behind in houses and lastly, those objects that were lost in the midst of the journey of migration.

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There are one too many reasons behind Aanchal Malhotra being our Muse. Her passion towards her project roots from a very personal level. It is not just an attempt at academic achievement, but, a more deep involvement in our own origins. She stresses on how the knowledge of her ancestors, their past and their experiences have actually molded her into who she is today. The effort & time that she invests in knowing her surroundings, the people around her, the stories and facts behind the city she is very much a part of inspire us to be more aware.

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There is so  much that has been unsaid, unheard of… Never inquired about, these people have archives of memories of an era gone by. And Aanchal’s initiative, her approach towards digging out those precious objects and the memories they hold is somehow bringing us closer to our own roots.

We are well aware that such a massive event took place, but, we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to understanding what it really must have been like. It is a reality we are detached from in our fast paced lives…

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Hoping Aanchal’s stories, her blog, her musings will give all of us an insight into a world that needs to be re-visited… Hope these seventy year old stories will enlighten the path for many more years ahead of us.

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