Mott Haven art exhibit celebrates Indian Arrival Day

A curation of films, paintings, sculptures and photographs called the “Indian Arrival: Indentured Survival” hopes to bring awareness and spark conversation for the Indo-Caribbean community.

Valerie Ryan

May 5, 2024, 9:55 PM

Updated 22 days ago

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Sunday marked Indian Arrival Day, a holiday that commemorates the arrival of indentured servants to Guyana. An art exhibit in Mott Haven, celebrates the resilience of the Indo-Caribbean community and why this day is meaningful.
"That's when the first boat in 1838, the first boat, it landed in Guyana in the Caribbean with the first set of indentured servants,” Raqeebah Zaman, a curator and artist, explained.
A curation of films, paintings, sculptures and photographs called the “Indian Arrival: Indentured Survival” hopes to bring awareness and spark conversation for the Indo-Caribbean community.
"Today is a celebration. It's also a time for us to reflect on the histories of colonialism, the histories of indentured servitude, what that really means, how that has really impacted our communities," Zaman said.
Zaman, a Guyanese and Muslim woman, talked about the representation of the diversity in Indo-Caribbean community.
"So, when I curated this, I was definitely considering those nuances,” she said.
All the art pieces included in the exhibit told a story. The film that was screened is called “Caroni,” and it's about a nanny that lives in Queens.
“I've always been struck by those people because they have really interesting stories. Their stories about if they just arrived in New York to do this work, oftentimes they've left family behind. And the story is about that,” Harnarine said.
“Indian Arrival: Indentured Survival" reflects different themes of migration, social conflicts and history.
Featured filmmaker Ian Harnarine said the event is a statement that Indo-Caribbean people exist and are seen.
The exhibit was hosted by the Oyate Group.


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