Australindopak Archive

You are invited to come on a journey...

Between 2012 and 2014 I took a series of increasingly immersive journeys in Australia, India and Pakistan during which I kept a diary, a scroll that I carried with me, in which I sketched people, animals, and places. Over months I developed the sketches into paintings. I also wrote, recorded, and filmed as I travelled. The outcome of these journeys and peripatetic practice is Australindopak Archive, Scrolls I, II, and III.

Canberra and other ideas

My first journeys were taken on foot around the city of Canberra, the capital of Australia, in 2012. Canberra and Other Ideas diarises my experience of returning to Australia from Pakistan. In Canberra my scroll became the place in which I expressed my sense of alienation in the city where I was born and grew up, and where I now felt a stranger, lost between cultures. I walked every day, drawn to the margins of Lake Burley Griffin and the life I found there. These walks became the sources of imagery in the scroll as I found myself pondering the lost vision of the Burley Griffins, and troubled people I encountered on the shores of the lake whose stories came into the scroll. 

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The second scroll, Australind, diarises the time from when I left Canberra to live briefly in Hunchy, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, from where I travelled to India. In India I navigated precincts in Gurgaon and through walking. I followed the path taken by the Scottish painter, William Simpson in 1858 around Old Delhi. I travelled South to Baroda, the city where I had studied. From Baroda I headed east to Bengal, and Kolkata where I made friends who introduced me to its culture, language, and history. In Bengal I oscillated between Kolkata, the small town of Santiniketan, and the tiny village of Naya, where I stayed for five months with a family of artists who practice Patuya Sangit - a tradition of painting and performing scrolls. It was the time of the monsoon, and as water reshaped the environment, so it shaped my journey which slowed down and at times stood still. Returning to Delhi from Bengal, I paused in Kanpur to tread another path taken by Simpson, to a site of massacres during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. I sketched there, beside the quiet waters of the Ganges for a day, before moving on to Delhi to catch a bus to Atari-Wagah border and Pakistan.

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When I reached Pakistan it was winter. My scroll paper had run out, and so I had to hunt for new paper for a third scroll. I walked around Lahore with this scroll for a month before travelling to to Khyber Paktunistan in north west Pakistan where I made paintings about a community whose presence is so old as to be mentioned in the Rig Veda. Time flies, and I return to Lahore where I continued to make paintings about a community of quiltmakers. Six months went by and by the time I was to return to India, the ten metres length of Indopak is nearly full. I left Lahore and travelled back on the bus to Delhi intending to return to Australia. But an unexpected delay kept me in India for two more months during which time the last remaining feet of space in the scroll became my means of recording events until I return to Australia, having been away sixteen months.

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About the Australindopak Archive

The Australindopak Archive was developed with the assistance of a grant from the School of Art and Design, ANU. The virtual tour software allowed for the bringing together of digitised scrolls,  films, and sound compositions. The films, sound pieces, and scroll paintings separately, and integrated as the Archive comprise the creative outcomes of the research project Towards a Peripatetic Practice: negotiating journey through painting. Click here to view film of the scrolls on exhibition in 2016 at the School of Art and Design, The Australian National University. 

About the artist

Michal Glikson began making scrolls in 2008 while studying Indian miniature painting during her Masters degree in fine arts at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India, where she encountered practitioners of Patuya Sangit (scroll performance) who had come from West Bengal to present their work in the faculty.  She began travelling from India to Pakistan to study the Persian style of miniature painting, and found the portable, light scroll a convenient way to keep working.

Since that time Michal has been working with scrolls to log journeys she has been making between Australia, India, and Pakistan, and beyond. For Michal, the scroll offers a practical peripatetic format resonant of ancient forms of human knowledge transferal. Importantly for her, it is conducive to stream of thought image-making through its unfolding, non-paginated space.

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