2018 BA Design show MOD: “Reclayming Territory” by Ananya Patel

The 2018 BA Design show MOD opens next week in Peckham, bringing you this year’s batch of innovative graduation projects pushing the boundaries of design. Here is another peek:

“Ananya Patel’s project Reclayming Territory is mapped around the position of traditional, cultural craft in a world driven by modern, westernised design. The project began with an interest in a ceramic studio, the Ceramic Centre, in her hometown in India, which became a platform to explore the agency of craft as a vehicle of social empowerment and decolonisation. This contextualised the work in the wider polemics of colonisation and the hegemonic relationship between the coloniser and the colonised, which is explored specifically through the connection between India and Britain.

This investigation takes place through a dual practice. One part involves material experimentation with clay, a process generated by craft methodologies in India. The other involves extensive research into archives and colonial historiography, which is then used to inform the objects made from clay. The clay is collected from the River Thames in London before being transported to the Ceramic Centre in India for making objects. The river acts as the thread that weaves these sites and histories into a narrative that highlights the spiritual, cultural and political role of the river in shaping civilisation and empire, and the design process developed around the physical exchange of clay between the two countries becomes a metaphor that highlights the notion of stolen, borrowed and shared territory.

Patel brings together both aspects of her practice in focusing on a particular act of decolonisation in British Indian history, through which the hierarchy was challenged. In telling this narrative, she developed a portable archive of decolonised historiography. It is built through collaborating and starting conversations with the institutions and individuals who contributed to the collection of research, and through engaging Indian craft practitioners in making ceramic objects that historically mobilised social, political and cultural liberation. The collection was set up as a pop-up archive at sites along the Thames where the London clay was collected, and was used to generate conversations about colonisation and to document the significance of decolonisation to various individuals and communities in today’s sociocultural landscape.”

See more work from the show on the MOD Instagram account. The show will be open to the public 8-10 June at Unit 8 Copeland Park in Peckham. The Press and Industry private view takes place on the evening of 7 June.