A House of Struggle
Tucked away in an old but refurbished building in Ahmedabad is the Conflictorium—India’s first museum dedicated to conflict
ADRIVE THROUGH THE crowded streets of Ahmedabad takes you to Mirzapur, a locality that’s a far cry from the swanky neighbourhoods of the city. Here you see poverty, some filth and the Conflictorium—India’s first museum dedicated to conflict—tucked away in an old but refurbished building. Here, art has been curated on the theme of struggle, war, pain and conflict. Few residents of the state’s most modern city have even heard of it. But locals often walk in, undisturbed by any barricades or entry fees The museum was set up in April 2013 by Avni Sethi, 27, an artist and dancer who conceptualised the Conflictorium as an interactive space that addresses the concept of struggle through art in varied forms—poetry, installations, artworks and workshops.
The 1985 clashes over caste-based reservations that led to an exodus of the Dabgar community, attacks on alleged cow slaughter, the 2002 communal riots that set the state ablaze or minor skirmishes in the mohalla—Gujarat has witnessed numerous conflicts, both big and small. A walk through this building takes you through permanent collections that tell stories of divergence and unrest but what makes this a vibrant space are the talks, book readings recitals and exhibits by people that reflect on the same theme.
The Conflict Timeline talks about a history of violence starting from 1959 during the formation of Gujarat state right to the present; the Empathy Alley is another section that’s interesting, with silhouettes of noted political leaders with their famous speeches. What resolves a conflict—in the mind or on the road? An apology. So, there’s a Sorry Tree where people pin up notes of apology for any hurt they might have caused to someone else.
Meet and Greet
The space welcomes people to engage in discussions. Last month, the three part series on
Readings And Reflections On Genocide, put together by Revati Laul addressed the Hannah Arendt, The Holocaust and the Balkan Wars.
The Conflictorium is housed in Gool Lodge, an old building which was home to Bachuben Nagarwala, Ahmedabad’s first certified hair stylist and beautician.
At Gool Lodge, Opposite RC High School of Commerce, Delhi Chakla, Ahmedabad
The Conflictorium is an interactive space that addresses the concept of struggle through art in varied forms