Conflict is something that we all deal with every day. Internal conflict is universal — the fight between right and wrong, emotions and logic, body and mind, we have all experienced it. But stepping away from the self, conflict is a process that makes and breaks societies. From theoretical to cultural, conflicts are a struggle between differing opinions, interests or principles. Socio-political conflicts are perhaps what most of us have heard about. From partnerships to wars, all socio-political interactions exist through conflicts of varying degrees.
The Conflictorium is an interactive museum that delves into the concept of conflict in all its multitudinous ways. The space seeks to facilitate dialogue around historical conflicts through the medium of art. With physical presence in two different states and strong presence online, The Conflictorium is a place of interaction and introspection. The museum works in collaboration with Janvikas, the Centre for Social Justice, and Navasarjan.
Avni Sethi, who founded the museum, is an interdisciplinary artist whose primary focus is on culture, memory, space and the body. She conceptualised and designed the museum but is now joined by a myriad of people, artists and otherwise, who believe in its cause. Since it's inception, the museum has shifted from being a single-led or curated museum to being one that is the result of a team effort. Through its evocative exhibitions and regular events, The Conflictorium provides a platform for people to engage with the complexities of social conflicts. It also creates the space for them to reflect on the individual’s role in building a peaceful society.
With the concept of social change through innovation in mind, the museum is founded with the vision to contemporise discourse around conflict and to analyse it as a necessary process in social growth. They hope that the museum will be a resource centre for peace and conflict, through the lens of art, law, culture and behaviour. Through its many interactive elements, the museum also seeks to gain more knowledge about conflict and provide a space for its visitors to express internal conflicts and dissenting opinions. By treating conflict as a necessary tool for change, the museum analyses it beyond the dichotomy of winning and losing, and encourages public introspection from every section of society, and conflict expression through art and creativity.
The Conflictorium in Ahmedabad is located in Gool Lodge in the Mirzapur neighbourhood of Ahmedabad, which has historically been a place fraught with communal violence. The museum here chronicles the city’s past and studies the deep-rooted religious and cultural conflicts that have shaped it. Through its exhibits, it encourages visitors to analyse the intricacies of these conflicts and the effort taken towards reconciliation. The exhibits are presented in different mediums ranging from photographs and scribbled notes to audio-visual installations. One of the museum highlights is the Voices of Silence exhibit where personal stories from those affected by communal violence are shared through interactive displays and installations. The Conflictoriums in Ahmedabad and Raipur host different exhibitions from creatives whose topics fit into the purview of the concept of conflict.
Located in Janta Colony in Raipur, The Chattisgarh Conflictorium analyses the often-overlooked aspects of tribal conflicts and identity. Raipur is surrounded by tribal communities that have grappled with a multitude of conflicts that have marginalised and even displaced them. The museum in Raipur focuses on communities and alternate cultures. Curated by lens-based artist Ayush Chandrawanshi, the museum hosts immersive displays, informative panels and reflective workshops. From June 8 to 11, the Conflictorium in Raipur will be hosting a hip-hop workshop by a local collective called Sadhuboys titled 'R(evolution)'. The collective, that features self-taught music producers and performers, would be discussing the history, context, and practices within the genre.
The Conflictorium as a venture goes beyond exhibits and promotes activism and dialogue of a new kind. It archives stories of historical conflicts, but it also engages with contemporary discourse and includes its visitors in it. Both museums hosts workshops, seminars, and sessions that feature community members, activists, scholars and artists to share their experience and knowledge. They also leverage social media and the democracy of online spaces to host more online events that are mostly free to take their efforts and vision to a national audience. In its multifaceted ways, the Conflictorium is a platform that seeks to foster understanding, empathy, and reconciliation when it comes to the world of conflicts and is a testament to the power of museums to drive social change.
Follow the Conflictorium here.
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