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Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind: Shedding Light on the Lives of Refugees

Ipsita Choudhury from the team has won the Reframe Genderalities2.0 Fellowship for her proposal, ‘A Place Called Home’. Ipsita's project aims to document the stories of refugees who have come to India from Bengal over the decades and have had their narratives ignored in historical discourse. The project will represent these accounts visually through illustrations to overcome linguistic barriers.

The concept of home has been blurry for Ipsita since childhood, as her grandmother would talk about her home where she spent happy times, but Ipsita could not relate to it. This prompted her to pursue architecture and work with the people of Kalandar Colony, a community on Delhi’s fringes, most of whom are partition refugees. Many of these refugees now live in deplorable conditions, barely speak Hindi, and are ostracized by society despite their crucial contribution to the city’s waste management and circular economy.

Through her project, Ipsita aims to document the stories of people who have experienced the direct effects of the Bengal partition, their relationship with their land while they were there, and how that has changed over decades, among other aspects. The project will be a visual documentation of these accounts through illustrations, which will be published in multiple formats to increase their reach.

Art is a powerful medium that transcends all language barriers and is truly universal. Ipsita's project aims to give voice to those whose stories have been lost to history and bring to light the struggles they continue to face. The project also recognizes the importance of accounting for the experiences of the common person to remember the horror of what they've been through and to come to terms with long-term trauma. By using illustrations to capture these accounts, Ipsita's project promises to be a fascinating and enlightening addition to the discourse around partition refugees.

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