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Mridu Rai Exhibition: How Do I Bring You Home?
Friday 28 January 2022, 05:00pm - 06:30pm
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How Do I Bring You Home?

Mridu Rai


Exhibition at the Royal Anthropological Institute: December 2021 – April 2022

The exhibition is in the RAI's meeting room. Viewing is possible Mo-Fri 10am-5pm but only by previous appointment via email (info@therai.org.uk) or phone (020 7387 0455)

Address: 50 Fitzroy Street, London, W1T 5BT 
Nearest underground stations: Warren Street (Victoria and Northern Lines), or mid-way between Great Portland Street and Euston Square (both Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines).
Nearest railway station: Euston Station


Online event 28 January 2022, 5:00 pm

(artist presentation followed by a discussion with Prof Christopher Pinney (UCL))
 
Please register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrde2vrT4sH9YMVPLSCYJP-i0bprkIt3fD 


“This project is an expression of my intellectual and emotional vulnerabilities that emerged whilst trying to engage with a colonial photo archive. The L.A Waddell Collection (1890 c.) now housed at the Royal Anthropological Institute, London, has 60 photographs of 30 men and women representing “types of natives” of Nepal, Tibet and Sikkim. The commission was carried out by Johnston and Hoffman studio, Calcutta and the portraits are similar to the photographs prescribed by the anthropological concerns of the time. Engaging with the archive was anything but easy, the process demanding intense personal responses while searching for new ways of looking at colonial visual archives. The series juxtaposes images from the L.A Waddell collection with other photographs, from my personal albums, my photo collective’s family photo archive as well as contemporary images. These are accompanied by textual narratives in the form of letters, emerging almost as a stream of consciousness. In the way the images are laid out and the letters are written, there was no blueprint, but they started emerging on their own as I “saw” each portrait—perhaps, my ancestors’ and my own lived experiences guiding me throughout. At times, the medium of exhibition does feel inappropriate. But the spirits and stories of the people in the portraits asked to come out now and in this way. I hope I have honoured them and continue to do so.”


Mridu Rai graduated with an MA in Material and Visual Culture from UCL in 2021 and is a member of the Confluence Collective, a collaborative space bringing together photographic practices and research from the Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalayas as a way of understanding the Hills and its history beyond the homogenised, colonial discourses and foster a culture of knowledge production and sharing from the margins.


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