A new exhibition co-curated by museums in Manchester and Amritsar that re-examines the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, its causes and aftermath is set to open in the UK next week.
Jallianwala Bagh 1919: Punjab under Siege will be on display at Manchester Museum between April 11 and October 2, 2019.
Part of a ground breaking collaboration with Amritsar’s Partition Museum, the exhibition has been organised to coincide with the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in April 2019, and bicentenary commemorations for the Peterloo massacre in Manchester.
On 13 April 1919, British troops opened fire on peaceful Indian protestors who had gathered to challenge British rule. Confined within an enclosed barren ground called Jallianwala Bagh in the Indian city of Amritsar, hundreds of Indians were killed and thousands injured. It was a defining moment in the fight for Indian independence and led to the eventual demise of the British Empire in South Asia.
According to organisers: “The nuanced exhibition explores what we remember of the massacre, how we remember it, and what we have forgotten, in India and the UK. It explores the causes for the unrest in the Punjab before, during and after the events which took place.”
Jallianwala Bagh 1919: Punjab under Siege is based on two years of research and curation, and includes archival and audio-visual material which tells the narrative of the massacre through eyewitness accounts, photographs and official documents. It also includes collections from the Manchester Museums Galleries Partnership, including Punjabi textiles from the Whitworth.
Manchester Museum will also open capsule exhibitions at Birmingham Library and the Nehru Centre in London in early April to highlight the centenary nationally.
The exhibition will be formally opened by Lord Desai on behalf of the Partition Museum. Contemporary British artists The Singh Twins are set to unveil a new artwork titled Jallianwala: Repression and Retribution. The left panel of their triptych provides historical context highlighting the oppression of India under the British Empire and Raj. The centre panel focuses on the massacre itself and how it divided opinion in India and Britain. The right panel explores the impact and legacies of Jallianwala, referencing India’s freedom struggle.
Main image: The Manchester Museum ©The University of Manchester.