Today, I paint the ghosts of Punjab, in memorium.
In response to a call for art from Ensaaf, a nonprofit organization working to end impunity and achieve justice for mass state crimes in India, with a focus on Punjab, by documenting abuses, bringing perpetrators to justice, and organizing survivors. Since then, this submission was selected as the first runner up! In the coming days, this piece will be shared on Ensaaf’s social media profiles. I am really happy my work will be bringing awareness at the international level to the stories of survivors of Punjab’s horrifying immunity abuses. Additionally, I won a $300 e-gift card to Blick Art!
Original is in color pastel and then digitally manipulated
From 1984 to 1995 Indian security forces disappeared and unlawfully killed thousands of Sikhs. Justice eludes the victims and survivors of mass state crimes in the world’s so-called largest democracy.
When the state commits impunity
When the state disappears citizens in fake encounters
When the state cannot respect the bodies or even return them to families
When the state instead protects the killers and denies involvement,
Ghosts are made.
Even being under the influence of drugs and alcohol and the dehumanization of one’s own people does not provide killers with spiritual immunity
With bodies never recovered, parents family and friends will continue to be haunted, wondering forever, whether their kin are alive
The deceased ultimately are stripped of the right of every individual to meet death on their own terms
Put the state on trail, so the murdered may finally rest in peace
No immunity for impunity!
M: “This is such a beautiful pastel! I’m so proud of you! … I feel like you should display this in your gallery. It’s one of my favorite pieces.”
Sati: “I love your concept and the text is really powerful! You know last august on my first filming trip to punjab, i was really overwhelmed with the stories of survivors, and on top of that i was physically exhausted from the heat. Some evenings i would sit on the roof watching the blood orange sun go down, over the fields of rice and sugarcane, and I would feel I was surrounded by the ghosts of the disappeared. It was a surreal and lonely feeling… Your piece captured that emotion for me. I.am really thankful you submitted! With love and awe,