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Ocula Magazine, Lahore Biennale 02: Past Reminders, Possible Futures

"Hoda Afshar offered a more expansive study of colonial violence in the two-channel film Remain (2018), which combines interviews with refugees on Manus Island, part of Manus Province in northern Papua New Guinea, which has been used to house refugees by the Australian government since 2013. Afshar juxtaposes vivid cinematography of the landscape with testimonies from refugees detained on this visually beautiful island. Subjects include a Kurd and a Sri Lankan Tamil—both are stateless and bear the legacies of postcolonial state violence in their countries—who talk about their friends who were killed back home, and the lack of medical treatment and food in their current location.Remain demonstrates which bodies can move and which cannot, and in the context of the Lahore Biennale problematises that fact given how many in the art world have the privilege to seamlessly travel the globe, unlike a Baloch in Pakistan, for instance. The racialisation of the contemporary world is not just that of the old empire, Afshar reminds us.

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