Talk, chaired by Ravi Sundaram at Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi

In March 2017, Vivan Sundaram presented, with Ashish Rajadhyaksha, an installation and public art project in Mumbai’s CSMVS (re-presented now at the KNMA), titled Meanings of Failed Action: Insurrection ’46, evoking the uprising of Royal Indian Navy sailors in Bombay in February 1946. The project proposes – through the oral testimonies of those who took part in, witnessed or were impacted by this spontaneous uprising at the cusp of political independence that was ruthlessly quelled – ways by which the subject of art may be defined by a history of political subjectivities. 

This presentation extends the specific example of the project to discuss a still largely unexplored aspect of political art in India: where voluntarist authorial coalitions, together with diverse voices of history, expose a dangerous underside, into the forgotten, the anonymized and the marginal, into archival debris – and into the historical possibilities of the reparative act.

Before his lecture, Ashish will give a special introduction to the 40 minute soundwork, Meanings of Failed Action: Insurrection '46. This will be held within the space of the 'Container' at 5 pm.

Vivan Sundaram's Retrospective Exhibition ends on Friday, 20 July at 6:30 pm. The artist will be present at the exhibition from 4 pm onwards to meet visitors.

Please note: While the rest of the exhibition is dismantled from Friday, 20 July, the 'Container' playing the sound work will remain installed until Tuesday, 24 July.