SEEKING A PLACE CALLED HOME
Two personal history projects explore themes of identity, memory and a sense of home through photographing objects.
Memories are our connection with our pasts. It is through them that we picture our history. Photographers Aanchal Malhotra and Chandan Gomes, both from Delhi, seek to establish this connection through their work. By photographing tangible objects, they narrate complex stories of intangible emotional journeys. Everyday objects like tattered books, old photographs, wall hangings, utensils and heirlooms, all hold secrets of the past.
Aanchal’s project Remnants of a Separation chronicles stories of migration and displacement during the partition of India, and Chandan with There are things I call home seeks to reconnect with his childhood by photographing objects that defined the mundane life at ‘home’.
Remnants of a Separation – Text and Images by Aanchal Malhotra
My project attempts to narrate the history through remnants. It is a study into the objects that individuals took with them when they left their homes at the time of the partition of India- the belongings that became a part of their life, their journey- whatever shape it was to take, and those which are now a part of their histories. Whatever remains today from this event carries within it the history of a place and the distant image of a true home.
These objects and the individuals that they belong to are the subject of my research. The project takes the form of images and narratives based on interviews, combining photographs and text.
Aanchal Malhotra is a multidisciplinary artist and writer living in New Delhi. She is interested in banality, acts of recollection and the malleability of our memory. View project here
There are things I call Home – Text and Images by Chandan Gomes
I grew up in a single room house in a relatively modest neighbourhood in Delhi; while I did my schooling and college from prestigious institutions catering to the ‘elite’. Each day, ever since I can remember, presented me with stark contrasting experiences and made it difficult for me to reconcile the identity of my two worlds.
I rebelled against the idea of ‘home’, I addressed it with disregard. This essay is my attempt at reconciling the idea of home with my own evolving identity. The objects in these photographs not only paint a portrait of my family, they also speak of the estranged relationship I share with them, of distances and uncertainties that separate us. Every photograph, hints at a sense of tension, conflict; the pain of neglect can be encountered. It is my foray into my own house and yet I feel like an outsider. But amidst this neglect, conflict, lies an alienated sense of intimacy. This essay is an attempt at reclaiming this intimacy; an attempt to embrace long lost memories, a forgotten childhood.