" /> Australindopak Archive

You are invited to come on a journey...

Between 2012 and 2014 I journeyed to parts of Australia, India and Pakistan, exploring towns, cities, villages, farms and forests through walking and public transport. I carried with me a scroll of paper in which I sketched from life, responding to what I saw and experienced in each community, culture, and environment. At night, or when it got too hot to walk around, I would develop the drawings into paintings. Alongside painting, I filmed as I travelled in many of the places I visited, documenting people who shared with me their stories, and the ways in which I was working. And I recorded environmental sound, conversations, and interviews, for sound diaries. The outcome of this journey and creative practice is Australindopak Archive, Scrolls I, II, and III.

Canberra and other ideas

The first part of this journey takes place in Canberra, in 2012. Canberra and Other Ideas is the title of this 300cm long scroll painting that diarises the time from my leaving Pakistan to my experiences of walking around the central areas of Canberra and the periphery of its lake. As a work it has an internal feel, as it explores senses of alienation in the city I once knew as home, and of feeling lost between cultures. In Canberra I also found it harder to connect with people, perhaps because of the city's design and planning which makes it quite a lonely city to traverse on foot. Also perhaps because culturally many Australians, in general, no longer practice cultures of hospitality that they once might have, I found it harder to connect with people than I did in India and Pakistan, where hospitality to the stranger is still considered extremely important in many places to which I later travelled.

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The second scroll, Australind, diarises time from when I left Canberra to live for a while in an idyllic part of Queensland known as Hunchy. From Hunchy, I flew to New Delhi in India, where I based in Gurgaon, making trips to Delhi to observe street life of its Old City. From New Delhi I travelled to Baroda, the city where I had studied, and where I connected with old friends and made new ones. From Baroda I headed east to Bengal, where I met many people who introduced me to its culture and history. In Bengal I divided my time between Kolkata, Santiniketan and the tiny village of Naya, where I was invited to stay 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 experience. After five months in Bengal, I set off for Pakistan, stopping only briefly at Kanpur, the site of a terrible massacre during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. I sketched beside the quiet waters of the Ganges for a day before moving on to Delhi for the bus to Atari-Wagah border.

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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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