Wounds Healed, Tales Etched | দাগ

Sumi Anjuman | Solo show

17.05.2024 - 08.09.2024
Opening: 17.05.2024, 6–9 pm

As part of the programme of the düsseldorf photo+ Biennale for Visual and Sonic Media, the Philara Collection is presenting the first solo show in Germany by Sumi Anjuman (b. 1989, Bogura, Bangladesh). Anjuman’s works are often developed in a multi-voiced process of dialogue between the artist and the people whose story she tells. Anjuman sees her artistic practice as part of a non-violent protest against patriarchal, gender- and sexuality-based repression, which is also an element of a collaborative healing process ‘healing through creation’. The artist works with the medium of photography, which she expands with drawings, embroidery, and archival materials, often shown configured as installations.

The exhibition brings together two photographic series, which have been developed over several years of engagement with various individuals directly affected by the issues addressed. Somewhere Else Than Here is a series of portrait photographs of people in the LGBTQ+ community in Bangladesh, whose visibility both within and outside conservative Muslim society is extremely limited. Queer people in Bangladesh suffer from severe repression in both the social and legal spheres, in the latter case particularly stemming from laws dating from the era of British colonial rule. This means it is almost impossible for them to own their identities openly without having to live in constant fear of discrimination or violence. Taking her many conversations as a starting point, Anjuman’s series visualises imaginative formulations for hope, love, freedom, and security and confronts fear, isolation, and dehumanisation. Her photographs are augmented by items from a material archive of objects given to Anjuman by the people she portrayed, which bear witness to their experiences.

The second series, River Runs Violet, takes as its theme sexual violence and rape culture in patriarchal structures. Despite advances in equal rights, women in Bangladesh are particularly severely subjected to gender-based violence. Anjuman worked closely on this theme with Zana (pseudonym), a survivor of multiple sexual abuse and rape. In a process of dialogic exchange, a visual conversation that interweaves the perspectives and experiences of both participants was created. Various materials and techniques, including photography, found images, embroidery, text, and drawings are used to address the individual crime and, in particular, the broader socio-political background.

Sumi Anjuman is currently based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She attained a master's degree in 'Photography & Society' from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, The Netherlands. Previously, she acquired a three-year diploma in 'Photography' from Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her works have been shown internationally, including at the Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2023), at Paris Photo (2022), and at the Noorderlicht International Photo Festival, The Netherlands (2021). In 2022, she won a Carte Blanche Students award at Paris Photo.


Exhibition curators: Julika Bosch, Hannah Niemeier

Curatorial assistant: Dana M. A. Bulic