Australian artist pays tributes to Kashmiri martyrs of 2010
Sydney: An Australian artist, Alana Hunt, organised a pictorial exhibition in Sydney to pay tributes to the Kashmiri youth, who were killed in occupied Kashmir during the uprising of 2010.
The exhibition “Cups of Nun Chai” organised at the Mori Gallery in Sydney showed Alana’s bond with occupied Kashmir. Her project “Brewing memories. Tasting Kashmir” is her way of paying tributes to those who were killed in 2010 in the Kashmir Valley. Alana witnessed the uprising during her stay in the Valley during that time. These ordinary-looking pictures convey an extra-ordinary thought.
“Over the course of two years, I invited 118 people to come and share a cup of nun chai as a simple act that acknowledged the loss of every life (during the unrest),” she says.
Carefully brewed, as Alana says, into a rich rusty red tea from a distinct form of green tea leaves, punctuated with a pinch of ‘phull’ (bi-carb soda) and made nourishing with milk and salt, Nun Chai, literally meaning salt tea, is Kashmir’s most common drink. People in Kashmir have it during their breakfast, at mid-morning, in the afternoon and also after dinner.
Alana went on offering people in various cities, around the world, cups of Nun Chai, sharing with them the grief of Kashmiri families who had lost their relatives during the unrest and who now longed to fill that empty cup with Nun Chai for their loved ones. “In the face of violence, growing number of dead and lack of thorough media coverage, it seemed necessary to speak, to connect and to write in a form that somehow reached places where the news headlines could not,” says Alana.
When Alana invited people for the special tea, they asked for more things about Kashmir, even the recipe of Nun Chai and she was ready to help – with tea leaves and with her memories of her stay in Kashmir. “With each conversation that unfolded over a cup of Nun Chai, each dead person who got killed in the 2010 mayhem envisioned in my mind and I developed a website (www.cupsofnunchai.com) where all these Nun Chai cups and the transcribed conversations were put together,” Alana shares.
Alana’s romance with Kashmir dates back to 2009 when her project on paper text messages, which was a sarcastic take on the ban on pre-paid phone messaging, was showcased at the Sarai Media Lab in Delhi. The more Alana interacted with Kashmiris at the Jawahar Lal Nehru University, where she studied the conceptual media art, the more she became interested in voicing the problems of Kashmiris in an artistic way, exhibiting her work from New Delhi to Sydney. (Online)