5 Student Officers posing in a group.

Khayal-e-Hir, Imagining Hir

An exhibition by Anusha Meenaz Ali

Date Thursday 18 April 2024

Time 5pm - 7pm

Location SU Gallery Space, High Holborn


Khayal-e-Hir, Imagining Hir

An exhibition by Anusha Meenaz Ali

PRIVATE VIEW: Thursday 18 April, 5pm - 7pm
EXHIBITION: 19 April - 8 May 2024
WHERE: Arts SU Gallery Space, 272 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EY

The exhibition will be open Mondays - Thursdays, 12pm - 4pm & Fridays, 12pm - 7pm

Hir belongs to the popular South Asian folktale, Hir-Ranjha, one that has traversed many languages of the region, and the many generations who call it home, near or far. It is a love tale—a tragic love tale; or a not so tragic one. It is real, and fictional. It is owned by none, and known by far too many. Is it about a mad kind of love? About a divine kind of love? A worldly love; an unworldly love? Is it the society laid bare; the power of a woman; the path of fate? Is it union? Despair? 

It is all of it. And none of it.

It is what it is to you. 

I bring to life through this showcase a research that began as a paper and continues as a tapestry: the many ways this tale of Hir, and Hir herself, have come to exist in the imaginaries of the many who encounter it. The world of this tale is animated in poetry, songs, films, art, academia and colloquialisms in language. Those who know the region have often needed no more than the names, Hir and Ranjha, to gather a semblance of the tale, a courtesy of the multitude of similar tales—you have them too I’m sure! Find your Romeo and Juliet, your Laila and Majnoon, and you too will have a semblance of Hir Ranjha. 

I bring together all the very many imaginings that create the world of Hir: papers, interviews, conversations, films, connections made in dreams, symbols, thoughts, music, dance, meanings, emotions. It is a work that exists only because people continue to imagine and share Hir. I would like to share my Hir with you—my many Hirs. And I invite you to join me, and others, in Imagining Hir.