An art exhibition opens this week at Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts and looks into India’s forgone status as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of the British Empire.
The exhibition, entitled “Threads of Empire” explores the rise of the British Empire in India between 1740 and 1840.
Letters from the East India Company exhibit the distrust and rebellion felt between the company and their hostage, Indian Prince Jamh O Deen, during the Vellore Mutiny of 1806.
Ibtisam Ahmed, curator and PHD student of Politics and International Relations at Nottingham University, said: “By focusing on resistance, this exhibition challenges any attempt to whitewash British imperial history.”
Displayed as part of the exhibition will be an artwork, ‘Entangled Freedoms, I, II and III’ by Infinite Threads, a local textile-art collective which takes place between April 13 to August 20.
Dr Onni Gust, professor of History at The University of Nottingham, has taken an active part in coordinating the exhibition.
He said that the exhibition has brought clarity on the subject “too often, the popular British narrative of the rise of the British Empire is one of easy conquest.”
He said “British imperial rule was constantly challenged by Indian subjects from all backgrounds, from princes to soldiers. This challenge took the many forms, from polite disagreement, to non-compliance, to outright rebellion and mutiny.
Bilal Sayeed, 22, a student from Sneinton and member of Nottingham’s Indian community centre said “as a British Indian I think it’s important that educational exhibitions like this are exploring the relationship between Britain and India.”
He said: “Having access to these artefacts will give the public a better understanding of history within the Indian subcontinent.”