Sayera Anwar
“Bachpan Ka Mela (Childhood Street Festival)”
2020, video, 03:25
“Karkhana (The Factory)”
2022, video, 02:15

Artwork Description

"Bachpan Ka Mela (Childhood Festival)" is about reminiscence. It is a celebration of a fond memory of my 80 years old Nani, where she lays on a charpai and recounts an old tale. She fondly tells the story of having visited a festival as a child with her cousins in her then-hometown, Jalandhar, India, before the communal massacre took place between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, which led to the Partition of 1947. Being a Muslim, she, along with her family, was forced to flee from the Hindu majority India and migrate to the new Muslim nation, Pakistan. She narrates how at night while she is lying in bed, she often dreams of the route to her house in Jalandhar, India. For the past 74 years, she has been unable to visit her childhood home due to the constant Pakistan-India rivalry. Her memories work as an archive of the world's largest migration that has taken place to date, evidencing how millions of people were displaced due in the process.

"Karkhana (The Factory)" is a collaboration between my mother and me. She is speaking about an old memory of Tibba, her village in Kasur, Pakistan, where her family settled after the Partition of India in 1947. During the Partition, my mother’s family was forced to migrate to Pakistan from India, losing their ancestral home and possessions. Post-partition, many Muslim refugee families ended up residing in homes previously occupied by Hindus who, leaving everything behind, had migrated to India. She tells a story of a prominent Hindu man who had lived in the village before Partition. He hoped to advance the village by growing a garden and building a factory but was forced to migrate to India because of the growing religious conflicts between the Hindus and Muslims.



Sayera Anwar is a multidisciplinary artist from Islamabad, Pakistan. She completed her Bachelor in Fine Arts from The Beaconhouse National University in 2019. In her artistic practice, she explores her family history, conflates the historical event with the present situation, and inspects the impact of boundaries on different generations.

In 2019, she was nominated for the third and final edition of the “We the Peoples, We the Arts” competition, hosted by the Embassy of Switzerland in Pakistan. In 2021, she worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at the Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, and was a recipient of Taaza Tareen’13 at Vasl Artists’ association. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Photography at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, where she was granted the prestigious New Artist Society Merit Scholarship.

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