Land of Undefined Territory, 2014–2015
Archival pigment print and museum rag board, edition 7 + 2 AP
Collection of the Artist
Repetitive frames of barren land with no significant geographical or political identity: this land could be anywhere, as the title of the artwork suggests, and yet it is not. It is one of the most contested territories in recent history, over which lives have been lost and wars have been fought: the border that separates India from Bangladesh. It brings to mind histories of decolonisation, when new maps divided the Indian subcontinent in 1947, when Bangladesh came into being in 1971, and the ceaseless conflicts that continue to this day between India and Bangladesh. These photographs explore not only people’s political relationship to land, but also the effects of aggressive industrialisation. By presenting us with topographies of passive land that has been exploited for political and economic reasons, Munem forces us to reflect on the nature of maps: Who constructs them? Are they innocent constructions? How are they broken and replaced?