Alphabet of Touch >< Overstretched Bodies and Muted Howls for Songs
10 Sep 2020 — 10 Oct 2020
Sajan Mani, Unlearning Lessons from my Father (2018), video
NOME is pleased to present Sajan Mani’s first solo exhibition in Europe.
Just because a howl is muted, doesn’t make its source less painful, nor its purpose less potent. The “muted howls” of the exhibition’s title refer to Sajan Mani’s translation of the protest songs of Dalit activist and poet Poykayil Appachan (1879–1939), from the suppressed history of South India to the drawn-upon walls of the European gallery.
Appachan was a slave child born into the lowest caste of the Dalits, considered the ‘untouchables’, and grew up to become a social reformer. Sajan’s dynamic performance over two days covers physical space with expressive renderings of the original Malayalam songs. Hand connects with paper in a haptic experience responding to the call of Appachan’s early lament: “There was none on the earth to write the story of my race.”
Sajan hails from a family of rubber tappers in a north Keralan village. Rubber is inextricable from extractive colonial histories.