Artists explore creative tension of South Asia's split

Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:20am EST
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By Sahar Ahmed

KARACHI (Reuters Life!) - An art exhibition in the Pakistani city of Karachi is challenging crowds to take a fresh look at the roots of conflict with India by focusing on the subcontinent's traumatic division.

Named "Lines of Control," after the ceasefire line separating the two countries' armies in disputed Kashmir, the exhibition tackles a sensitive topic that has received little attention from the art world in the six decades since partition, curator Hammad Nasar told Reuters.

"The whole project is to look at the notion of partition as a productive space," said Nasar.

"Productive in the way that it produces something, new nations, new histories, new identities and it also reconfigures memories."

The continent was divided into Muslim Pakistan and mostly Hindu India in 1947 at the end of British colonial rule.

The split triggered a wave of bloodletting. More than 15 million people fled from one side to the other, and nearly one million were killed in an explosion of sectarian hatred.

Soon after partition, India and the newly-created Pakistan fought their first war, over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

They later fought two more, and the threat of conflict -- perhaps next time with nuclear bombs -- still looms.   Continued...

<p>Peoples look an exhibit during the "Lines of Control" exhibition in Karachi January 28, 2009. REUTERS/Athar Hussain</p>