Sajan Mani

Dear museum, we are standing in front of your doorsteps to listen to our ancestors

Photo © Sajan Mani / Shrine Empire Gallery

02. November—22. Dezember 2023


Museums in Germany, such as the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, University of Tübingen or the State Library in Dresden, house vast collections from colonial contexts. Among these are photographs that chronicle the lived experiences of marginalized Dalit and indigenous communities in Kerala, anthropological photographs with colonial racist gaze regimes as well as postcards, letters and palm leaf manuscripts in Malayalam, the language spoken in Kerala and which carries a complex historical connection to Germany. The German missionary and linguist Hermann Gundert (Hermann Hesse’s grandfather) standardised Malayalam and published several books in Malayalam at the end of the 19th century, including the first dictionary. Conversion to Christianity enabled Dalits, who were strictly forbidden to read and write, to leave repressive social caste hierarchies and economic marginalisation. Nevertheless, also Gundert’s work took place in a colonial context. Engaging with these photographs, materials, and historical narratives, Sajan Mani unfreezes time, reinstating the inherent dignity of the individuals portrayed, and anchoring ancestral memories and remnants at the core of his creative process. 


Additional events / program:

MARKK in Motion / Artist Talk:
Sajan Mani, Dear Museum, We are standing in front of your doorsteps to listen to our ancestors
Thursday, November 23, 7:00 PM
Museum am Rothenbaum. Kulturen und Künste der Welt

Kampnagel Hamburg / Workshop:
Sajan Mani, Political Yoga
approx. 120 minutes (40 minutes of yoga, break, and discussion)
Friday, November 24, 6:00 PM Kampnagel Hamburg

The exhibition takes place as part of India Week Hamburg 2023.

Öffnungszeiten: Thursday and Friday: 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Saturday: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
They are also open by appointment

Photo © Sajan Mani / Shrine Empire Gallery

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