Ee ghaoo maange acha ho jai
(These Wounds Must Heal)

Quishile Charan | Solo

10 Jan 2019 - 10 Feb 2019

Clark House Initiative
Exhibition Space

Exhibition Overview

In textiles that uphold her community’s traditional craft methodologies, Indo-Fijian artist Quishile Charan urges the utmost respect for the once-hidden histories of girmitiyas resilience—looking and looking again at their stories of survival—as a counter-colonial act that re-stitches history into armour.

Indentured labour began with contracts polished by lies. These contracts led signees to distant lands including Fiji, to inescapable debt spirals, and to labour conditions that would come to be known as narak. The truth of this past became an unspoken trauma shrouded in silence by the community it so wounded. But this silence, too, is a wound.

Quishile envisions a time when no one in her community is ashamed to talk about the history of indentured labour. Working towards this future, she creates narratives centered around Indo-Fijian voices and strength. In a visual language that narrates a history beyond words, she gathers precious memories from ancestors both living and dead into a collage of gratitude towards the community that birthed her.

The Indo-Fijian woman in particular was and continues to be vilified as deviant and whore—a colonial scapegoating framework used to smother the activism and independence that rose first and foremost from the female indentured population. At Clark House Initiative, Quishile rejects the shame placed upon her female ancestors in favour of their power, connecting the past to the present in a chain of unbreakable women.

Text by Casey Carsel


Casey Carsel is an Ashkenazi New Zealand-Jewish artist and writer living and working between Auckland and Chicago. Her work has been presented or is upcoming on platforms including Blue Oyster Gallery, RM Gallery, Hamster, F Newsmagazine, Meanwhile, Adam Art Gallery, and Window. Carsel will complete her MFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2019.

Kris Prasad is an Indo-Fijian queer activist and is currently a nal year university student of sociology and politics. He also works as a human rights trainer for a feminist NGO, conducting community trainings on gender and human rights. Kris has also been actively involved in youth and pro-democracy movements in Fiji.

Quishile Charan is an Indo-Fijian artist and writer living and working in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Charan uses traditional modes of textile making to re ect upon the landscape of Indentured Labour and the on-going neo-colonial e ects on the Indo-Fijian community. Knowledge is kept and stored with each length of fabric created, both a form of visually-expressed oral storytelling and an o ering to the girmitiyas, the ancestors of Indenture. Charan’s writing practice exhumes lost Indo-Fijian histories from colonial archival sites. Recent projects include To Uphold Your Name (with Salome Tanuvasa), Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland (2018); Your Woman is a Very Bad Woman, Firstdraft gallery, Sydney (2018). Writing projects include: “Unearthing the History of my Female Ancestors in Fiji”, Matters Art Journal Aotearoa, Issue 8, 2018. “Part III: Odisha 24th of November 2017, 2:45pm”, HAMSTER Magazine Issue 03, e Physics Room, 2018. Charan has a BFA (Hons) from Elam School of Fine Arts, e University of Auckland and is currently completing a Masters of Visual Arts at Auckland University of Technology.

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