A major new outdoor touring exhibition will honour the long history of Indian presence in Britain and the impact Indians have had on British life as part of the ongoing UK-India Year of Culture celebrations.
The India in Britain exhibition opens in Edinburgh on September 17 before travelling to London and then Leeds next month.
“By touring this outdoor exhibition, we want to swivel the perspective and examine India’s role within Britain, rather than Britain’s well documented historical presence in India,” said Professor Susheila Nasta from the UKs Open University, the Project Director of the exhibition backed by the Indian High Commission in London.
“The images trace Indian-British interactions across the divides of race, class, and gender, drawing public attention to the complex realities of both countries intertwined histories. The accompanying events and online tools will reach wide public audiences. We hope this will fire imaginations and provoke reflection so we remember the huge impact India and South Asia have had on contemporary British life,” she said.
The exhibition documents the diverse histories which make up the shared heritage of India and Britain from 1870, the earliest image in the exhibition, to the present day and grew out of a decade-long research project exploring South Asian and Indian-British connections.
Spanning almost two centuries, from the period of the British Raj through to the post-war migration to today, the exhibition, and an accompanying website, has been described as a visual history of Indias impact on Britain’s cultural, intellectual and political life, national and global politics, human rights and equality, the arts and sport.
Famous personalities are celebrated, alongside images of the ordinary and every day. The images also document moments of adversity and the discrimination faced by those who made their homes in Britain.
“From giants of history to the unnamed and unrecognised, the exhibition shines a light on the many individuals who have shaped British life,” the organisers said in a statement.
Queen Victoria is depicted with her favoured Munshi, Abdul Karim; Gandhi is pictured visiting female textile workers in Lancashire; and the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore, is photographed in London.
The exhibition has been directed by Professor Nasta in collaboration with Dr Florian Stadtler of Exeter University and Maya Parmar of the Open University. The project forms part of the wider programme for the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture.