Khandakar Ohida lives and works in Kolkata, IN
Khandakar Ohida possesses a sensibility informed by the sociopolitical hierarchies that shape vernacular identities. In Dream Your Museum (2022), she inquires into the conditions of capital, class privilege, and the persistence of colonial frameworks that exclude certain bodies from participating in official archival spaces. The artist draws on the story of her uncle, Khandakar Selim, a compulsive hoarder who has amassed a vast number of items in his home over forty-seven years. The artist’s installation is a condensed recreation of his collection, which proposes a museum of memorabilia. However, a few questions arise: Can a book of stamps coexist with vintage alcohol bottles? Do jars of nails or ordinary plastic bags count as permissible artifacts for a museum? What does the cohabitation of holy books in a precarious space of care say about a country reeling under sectarian angst?
Far removed from the nationalistic impulse that shapes institutional sites, Selim has made use of metal trunks as containers for his domestic museum. Found in most middle-class South Asian households, they are ubiquitous as long-term storage solutions. However, the premise of organization is discarded here in favor of a nonlinear relationship with time, as the objects jump across contexts and are accorded uniform value. In its naïve genesis, this portable museum unwittingly defies the authority, surveillance, and tactile prohibitions of conventional museums. Viewers are invited to leisurely peruse the items in Selim’s boxes, which reveal the childlike curiosity of a demure man on the margins, who dared to dream.
Dream Your Museum delves into the tension between postcolonial imaginaries of preservation and the micro-universe of a Muslim inhabitant of rural India. A conversation between two figures in the short fiction film that completes the installation establishes a dreamscape with the items on display—animated by the vivid imagination of an accumulator.
VAICA – Video Art by Indian Contemporary Artists: Part II, 2021, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Mumbai (IN)
Call to Disorder, 2019, Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa (IN)
VAICA – Video Art by Indian Contemporary Artists, 2019, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (online) and Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai, Mumbai (IN)
Ahang, 2019, Alliance Française de Lahore, Lahore (PK) und Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Islamabad (PK) und Alliance Française de Karachi, Karachi (PK)
Students Biennale, 2016, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi (IN)