By Sunil Pun|June 21, 2022|General|0 comments

SOAS’s Brunei Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition by Pragya Dhital of DIY and decolonial print and the simple duplication technology used to produce it, with focus on the ‘Gestetner’ stencil duplicator. Stencil duplicating involves copies being made from a cut-out, patterned or lettered sheet (a stencil), through which paint or ink is applied onto paper. Originally intended for bureaucratic purposes, it was one of a series of Victorian-era inventions including the typewriter, the telephone, and the electric light, which made up the key elements of the modern office.  But its potential was quickly grasped by those involved in underground print production, from writers of zines to producers of anti-colonial propaganda and samizdat literature.

With focus on literature produced in pre and post Independence India, the exhibition explores various attempts to forge connections between readers and writers beyond the purview of the state and the logic of the market through the medium of DIY print. TheIndian literature is contextualised with reference to material from a wide range of archives, produced using a variety of low-tech printing and duplication processes.

The exhibition includes material from Asia Art Archive; Bruce Castle Museum’s Gestetner archives; pamphlets from the British Library’s collection of publications proscribed in colonial India; literature collected by Ram Dutt Tripathi, a former BBC journalist who was imprisoned during the Indian Emergency of 1975-77, and now digitised by the University of Goettingen’s Long Emergency project; little magazines edited by the poet and translator, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, and other publications from UCL’s collections of small press and samizdat literature, and an animated facsimile by Raqs Media Collective. 

The exhibition emerges from Pragya’s research on the media censorship in India during the colonial period and internal Emergency, and wider interest in print history and experimental literature. 

Exhibition: Crafting Subversion: DIY and Decolonial Print

Curated by Dr Pragya Dhital

Date: 28 April 2022 – 3 September 2022

Time: 10:30 AM-5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

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