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this way, emancipation

Shrujana Shridhar

Presented in Season 2 2023

Window Commission
Presented by Arts House

Curated as part of Okkoota ಓಕ್ಕೂಟ by Vishal Kumaraswamy

Monday 3 July – Friday 24 November 2023

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Arts House exterior
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
North Melbourne

Visual Rating 100%
Wheelchair Accessible

this way, emancipation presents untold & forgotten stories of the richness of the Dalit-Bahujan communities in India.

Across six panels, this way, emancipation draws from Shrujana’s extensive drawing and illustration practice that works to represent the richness of the Dalit-Bahujan experience & breaks the oppressor-oppressed binary. The commission expands upon the anti-caste thinking & organising principles that informed the presentation of Okkoota ಓಕ್ಕೂಟ 

this way, emancipation expands the process of ascribing untold stories onto the surface of the building by depicting scenes of cultural heritage & lived experiences of Dalit-Bahujan tenderness, faith, resistance, glory and assertion of presence. Each of the panels represent the richness of Dalit-Bahujan identities today moving from oral history, activism and the ongoing fight for representation in Indian society today.


Artist Statement

Shrujana Shridhar’s practice spans archives, drawing, illustration, community engagement and mentorship. Shrujana’s works on paper & digital illustrations accompany some of the most in-depth & critical journalistic works being carried out in India today. As a member of the Ambedkarite Buddhist community, Shrujana works to depict the full breadth of being of dalit-bahujan-adivasi people even as her works are often created in response to acts of overwhelming violence, dispossession & systemic erasure. By rejecting the representation of these communities only as victims of violence, she breaks down the pre-conceived notions of hierarchies and layers the works with more humane interpretations of their lives. Shrujana is the co-founder of the long-term archival research project The Dalit Panthers archive. The archive is a seminal work within Dalit-Bahujan artistic scholarship of the country to demonstrate the historical connections between the Black Panther movement in the United States and the Dalit Panthers in Maharashtra.

About the artist

Shrujana Niranjani Shridhar is an illustrator and designer practising in Mumbai. She completed her Diploma in Visual Communication and Art from Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. In 2016, she co-founded the Dalit Panther Archive to document the Dalit Panther movement of the 1970s. Her main research interest is the exploration and definition of a Dalit aesthetic that has existed in the Indian subcontinent for centuries in myriad, heterogeneous forms. Her work examines socio-political relations, especially at the intersection of gender, caste, and class.


Shrujana Shridhar
‘Graduation’ Originally commissioned by The Caravan
‘Water & Caste’ Originally commissioned for the podcast, ‘The Subver by Dark ‘n’ Light

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