Baaraan Ijlal is a self-taught artist based in New Delhi (India). She is interested in exploring anonymity as essential to individual liberty. She seeks to enable listening and creating witnesses to unacknowledged stories. Her medium includes acrylic paint, sound, video, light, and resin installations among others. Her sound installation Change Room, is an ongoing project to enable listening of unacknowledged stories, told anonymously towards possible change. Those who have recorded their stories with artist as witness include nomads ousted by authorities from the forests, people turned out of homes and neighborhoods because of their sexual orientation, victims of caste and communal violence, people who have been declared stateless overnight, and war refugees to name a few. Recordings have so far taken place in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Her installation Coal Couture, launched at the World Health Organization’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health (2018) in Geneva is a mock brand of luxury luggage made as a coveted couture object. Her installation Silent Minarets, installed at Mumbai International Airport are anonymous letters by 43 women embroiderers of UP village to themselves.
The series, Hostile Witness that Ijlal has been working on for the last five years. Informed by a list of historic, fragile architectural structures that are not officially listed as monuments, and often have active communities around them and lived histories, the artist begins her own research. Repeated visits to the site involve conversations with those she encounters around/at the building to unearth the living memory and stories from the space. These stories are meticulously inscribed, layer by layer in a narrative form on to digital prints of their facades. As in all her other works, narrated testimonies of living individuals entirely inform her process. The artist and the audience become witnesses to these accounts.