Endangered Pasts

This May we are delighted to host the new exhibition ‘Endangered Pasts’, which explores the challenges of archive preservation in the Northeast Indian Borderlands…

This vivid exhibition, curated by Kyle Jackson, gives an insight into the lives of the Mizo people through historical materials and photographs. The Mizo people live in the mountainous borderlands, home to an abundance of rich, historical materials, many of which relate to the British colonialization of India.

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This exhibition focuses on the challenges of the preservation of these historical materials, as many are neglected and left to the mercy of the heat, humidity and rodents. The preservation of historical sources is of paramount importance, as they are fundamental to providing a window into the history and lives of the Mizo people. In 2011, researchers working with the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme travelled through Mizoram, locating village-level historical sources and using high-resolution cameras to preserve images of the materials. Here at the Modern Records Centre, we are privileged to display some of these photographs for the first time.

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There is an interesting use of materials in this exhibition; not only are there textiles and objects on display but the photographs are printed on unusual types of handmade paper. The materials which were used to create the papers are all significant to the lives and culture of Mizoram. Such materials include bamboo, which creates an interesting flecked effect on the print and petals, which dash the paper with a vivid crimson.

These papers will then warp, crack and crumble, as the exhibition moves into its final weeks, bringing viewers face-to-face with the loss of these irreplaceable artefacts, and pointing to the rescuing potential of digitization.DSC01727

We urge you to come into the Modern Records Centre to view this unique exhibition. It is only running for a limited time and will close on Thursday 21st May so don’t miss out!  The exhibition is free to view and open Monday-Friday.

It is a joy for us to host such a colourful and engaging exhibition and look forward to sharing it with you.

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A special thank you to Kyle Jackson for putting together this fantastic exhibition and the Warwick Retired Staff Association for their support of the project.

‘What a creative and interesting exhibition’

‘Makes geography, history, archiving come to life’

‘A really interesting display!’

‘A very informative and interesting display. Learned a lot today.’

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