KINGSTON, R.I. – Sept. 28, 2021 – A new online exhibit remembering the 2.5 million Indians who voluntarily took up arms to fight on behalf of their British colonial rulers during World War II is now live on URI Libraries’ new digital exhibit space. The Unremembered: Indian Soldiers of World War II, which acknowledges the contribution of these forgotten soldiers, features the work of multimedia artist Professor Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, and accompanies her mid-career retrospective ReVision at the Newport Art Museum which runs through January 9.
Matthew has brought this hidden history to light through multiple projects. After families of Indian soldiers began contacting her with stories and photographs, she started building a digital archive and has collected over 200 photos. The online exhibit features 10 photographs of Indian soldiers and their stories and was curated by Julia Lovett, associate professor and digital initiatives librarian for University Libraries, along with Matthew.
“Annu’s work on this hidden history is inspiring and it was a pleasure to collaborate with her. An online exhibit is a great way to tell a story or honor an event, while reaching a broad audience,” said Lovett. “With our new digital exhibits platform, I’m looking forward to showcasing more stories from the URI community in this way.”
Discussing how the online exhibit fits in with her museum exhibition, Matthew noted that “One gallery of the exhibition at the museum is a multimedia installation, including 3D laser cut crystals of some of these photographs with archival video and stories. I wanted people to learn more about the individual identity of the people depicted. Collaborating with Julia made that happen! Museum viewers will use a QR code to access the URI Libraries’ digital exhibit.”
Lovett and Matthew are also working together to create a full database of the Indian soldiers’ archive, which will be available online. URI’s digital exhibit space is open to all members of the community and can be found at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/exhibit/.