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Madiha Sikander’s Majuma (‘assemblage’ in Urdu) is an installation inspired by the similarities in the practices of miniature painting and Canadian First Nations weaving in terms of their relationship with labour and materiality. Cloves, beads, and microfilaments are woven together to create a transparent and powerfully scented curtain that invites us to consider how the world we experience today was designed by labour and trade routes drawn up by imperial powers. ‘Each lozenge refigures how the lines of the Silk Road and the routes of the Spice Trade map the Indian subcontinent, trade routes tracing to the Neolithic and extending to Southern Europe... Africa... and Asia. Each bead recalls the European expropriation of indigenous lands in the Americas and of human beings in the African continent – the “slave trade beads” Europeans used in their dealings with indigenous American groups....’  according to Denise Ferreira da Silva. Sikander works with found objects, such as books, newspaper images, and family photographs, as well as items from flea markets. Her work addresses historical erasure and memory, notably in relation to labour, space, and material. Through repurposing and layering familiar materials, Sikander collapses the different tenses of time and space.

 

Top left: Instagram barsha.rahman27. Top right: Majmua (detail), 2017–18. Cloves, monofilament, glass, metal beads. Courtesy of the artist. Above: Photo Randhir Singh

'Naked capitalism and internationalism, sometimes masked under the guise of religion and development aid, continue to drive networks of power controlling the globe.'

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