Bengali Britain exhibition. A MMPI – BritBangla collaboration

What does it mean to be British Bengali? How do (inherited) memories of life in East Bengal (later on Bangladesh) and of migration to Britain influence our present? This can be difficult to explain in words, but we all have pictures in our own albums which say something about where we have come from and where we are now.

The following images were part of an exhibition curated by the Partition memory project (MMPI) and BritBangla in 2019. The aim of this collaboration was to open up a conversation on the meaning of British-Bengali identity by exploring personal histories – bringing into view people’s own lived and inherited experiences of historical events (such as the Partitions of Bengal) as well as of migration and settlement in a new country.

This showcase of family photographs bears testimony to the long-standing relationship between Bengali and British life.

Family Photo circa late 1920’s Guwahati, Assam – Bengal Region, British India. The Chowdhury family portrait. Assam early circa 1930s.  Members of the family relocated to Sylhet after the Partition of British India in 1947. Possessions and family treasures for memories were lost through movements across Bengal from Assam to Kulaura, Sylhet and Dhaka; and as then families spread across UK and USA.  

Taryn Khanam