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Kashmir: The Making of a Family Album

By 12th January 2023No Comments

Anita Khemka & Imran Kokiloo

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”  Susan Sontag.

How does a landscape suffuse into one’s being? Can the separation of the violent-troubled history from Kashmir’s magnanimous landscapes convince its natives to believe in peace-invoking platitudes? Or do they carry on endlessly with this painful fragmentation? Imran certainly does, but mutedly. Until they spill into our familial image reconstructions.

The family photos from this series, symbolically remind us of the inevitability of the past, loss and death. The constructed images are replete with memories that can neither be touched nor altered, only re-lived in our imaginations on an endless loop. Family albums from an erstwhile happy childhood in Kashmir, now deftly inserted into these constructions in the new landscapes — are these failed attempts to behold and make peace with the lost? A layering of the past and the present, fusing the landscapes of Kashmir with Verzasca in Switzerland, suffusing our family’s memories of today with family albums from Imran’s beautiful childhood in Kashmir’s serene (and bloodied) landscapes, they act as both, anchors as well as dead weights. Neither do they let us reconcile, nor move on.

Summer, 2022 Switzerland
Supported by ProHelvetia, New Delhi
Exhibited at the Verzasca Foto Festival, September 2022
© Anita Khemka & Imran Kokiloo / PHOTOINK