Kaghazi Pairahan – Publishing & Resistance in South Asia

April 24 - June 20, 2024

Kaghazi Pairahan presents a traveling library of artists’ publications and printed works that respond to historical and contemporary acts of social and political dissent across Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the South Asian diaspora.

Explore the expanded exhibition page.

Through photobooks, zines, unpublished dummies, posters, and pamphlets from more than twenty artists, the exhibition considers various modes of publishing as strategies of resistance across interconnected struggles and experiences of marginalization. The works bring varied conceptual and documentary approaches to the circulation of photography and first person testimonies, registering the oppressive realities of state violence, entrenched patriarchy, censorship, Islamophobia, economic instability, and other concerns. The project’s title, Kaghazi Pairahan (“clothes made of paper” in Persian), draws a connection to an ancient tradition of attire worn by individuals seeking justice before their ruler.

This collection represents the important act of archive-building in countering the manipulation of public memory by colonial ethno-nationalist revisionist agendas. By working in peripheral modes of publishing, artists can transmit the enduring images and messages of “inquilabis” (agents of change) that are ordinarily suppressed by state-controlled mainstream media.

The artists’ publications on view speak to diverse socio-political conflicts across the region, including, among many others, the 2019 protests by Muslim working class women in Shaheen Bagh, India, against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens; the ongoing colonization and enforced disappearances in Kashmir; resistance against caste oppression by Dalits in Nepal; and the mass organizing of farmers in the Haryana-Punjab region.

Kaghazi Pairahan is curated by Devadeep Gupta & Akshay Mahajan, with design by Adira Thekkuveettil, and production by Kaamna Patel of Editions JOJO.

With works by:
Aaron Sinift, Abdul Halik Azeez, Alana Hunt, Ayan Farooqui, Cheryl Mukherji, Chinar Shah, Diwas Raja KC & Nepal Picture Library, Panther’s Paw Publications, Editions JOJO, Gulmehar Dhillon, Imaad Majeed, Ishan Tankha, Kaali Collective & Thuma Collective, Kaamna Patel, Khalid Hadi, Lodoe Laura, Ming Ma Niang, Nida Mehboob, Northeast Lightbox & Tezpur Mahila Samiti, Prarthna Singh, Rajat Dey, Raking Leaves, Rohit Saha, Rohith Krishnan, Sanaya Ardeshir & Krishna Jhaveri, Shahana Rajani, Zahra Malkani & Abeera Kamran, Shahidul Alam, SiSa, Sofia Karim & Turbine Bagh, Yaarbal Books, Tabitha Percy, Tasveer, Trolley Times, Uzma Mohsin

Events on occasion of the exhibition:

Kaghazi Pairahan Exhibition Opening
Wednesday, April 24, 5–7 PM
Join us at Printed Matter for a reception with Editions JOJO and team to celebrate the opening of the exhibition.
231 11th Avenue, New York, NY

Unpacking Independent Publishing in South Asia, with Editions JOJO
Friday, April 26, 12–1 PM
As part of The Classroom at NYABF
537 W 22nd St, New York, NY

Kaamna Patel (Editions JOJO) moderates a conversation with artist Cheryl Mukherji, curator Rahaab Allana, and editor Varun Nayyar to unpack the independent publishing landscape in and from India. Themes addressed will include representation, modes of production and circulation, and speculations on the future of photobook publishing across the South Asian region. This discussion is held on occasion of Kaghazi Pairahan: Publishing & Resistance in South Asia, on view at Printed Matter April 24–June 20. Presented by Printed Matter, Inc. Register here

Turbine Bagh Samosa Packet Workshop
Saturday, April 27, 3–5 PM
At the NYABF Block Party
537 W 22nd St, New York, NY

In conjunction with their exhibition at Printed Matter, Editions JOJO presents Sofia Karim’s Turbine Bagh project: an activation of protest imagery printed on samosa packets against far-right nationalism in South Asia. Participants will be invited to write and draw messages of protest on paper printed with images of resistance. These messages will get folded into packets to hold take-away samosas for participants.

Exhibition Support
This exhibition is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Arthshila Trust. In-kind support has been provided by Conveyor Studio.