A N C E S T O R S | पू र्व ज

Sahej Rahal
curated by Puja Vaish on occasion of the CSMVS Museum’s centenary

The exhibition brings together an extensive body of Rahal’s work that resonates with the underpinnings of the Museum in telling stories of civilisations.

‘Ancestors’ stages sculptural installations, drawings, paintings, writings, performances, and an AI program as an archaeological tomb-site of the future. Visitors enter a make-believe crypt with imagined relics of a posthuman civilisation. Using archaeology as a metaphor, the Museum becomes a space to interrogate narratives that shape the world, its inhabitants, and belief systems through a consideration of the human, ecological and digital imprints that are left behind.


“Sahej Rahal’s practice uses archaeology as metaphor, where trajectories of the rise and fall of imagined civilizations are unearthed through the debris of lapsed time, prompting ruminations on the ‘origins’ and the ‘apocalypse’ and all that transpires in between.


Rahal weaves mythological narratives of otherworlds that traverse through remote pasts to distant futures. The exhibition slips these narratives into the museum, staged as an archaeological tomb site of the future. Visitors enter a make-believe crypt with relics of a post-human civilization. An accumulative archive takes shape through drawings, paintings, sculptures, writings, performances and an artificial intelligence program, forming the fragmentary ‘evidence’ to realms of imagined civilizations, spirit worlds and post-human eventualities. In piecing the fragments, the museum becomes a site for building stories that describe the world, its inhabitants and its belief systems, through a consideration of the ecological, human and digital imprints that are left behind.”


– Puja Vaish, Curatorial Note on Ancestors

This project was made possible by the support of SSAF Installation Art Grant 2019.