DEAR ROGER : KNIGHTS OF THE RAJ
23 november 2017
I find it quite elaborate to see installations of a lived setting or experience in gallery spaces - but the amount in this exhibition leans more towards white-validation than brown-celebration. In fact, with some pieces I felt unnecessarily uneasy witnessing disheveled prayer mats and the tatter of banana-boat-brown sandals.
It seems as though this was a theme throughout the show, where each caption lived to remind us that the Bengali community, no matter how much they were progressing in the UK, brought the dregs of their economical status with them from their homeland.
This is where an emphasis on history becomes void for me.
What these ridiculous captions actually ending up doing is glorying the need for whiteness - at the same time operating to suppress the efforts of brown people in this country which also speak very much of the social climate now.
Ethnic people are marvels.
Why is it so hard to just accept and enforce that - no white strings attached?
These installations, were in no way reflective of the efforts we continue to drive and so damagingly fed tropes of the living conditions of non-white families and non-British persons.
Seriously, what is the point in this?
This was cute, however:
Just before I left, I saw an incubation of literal copies of visa’s and/or travel documentation for stay in the UK. Again, why do you need to remind us that we’re here?
I walked around the white partitions with zero interest. At the very least, I’d like to know more (than what was shown) about the struggles and successes of the Bengali community than about you, Roger.
I will never stop expressing my exhaustion upon hearing about bindis and saris and curry and Bollywood. Why are we reduced to this by whiteness and why do we nod along like Kathputli's?
I am more than this and I expect more from my apna's.
I left as soon as possible - left the white visitors to occupy Roger more than I would ever be willing to.
So there you have it folks,
as I enter
as I exit
as I exist:
me and my curry only thrives and survives off the white back of Roger - our unSingh hero.
Knights of the Raj is an ongoing exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery until 7 January 2018.