Mapping Old Town — Archival Studies and Contemporary Responses
12th June - 30th September 2013
About the Exhibition
The Old Town of Leh, locally known as ‘Skyanos Gogsum’, bears testimony to the architectural heritage and socio-cultural history of Ladakh. Situated behind Leh’s main market, the Old Town lies spread across the southern slope of the hill with the Palace at the top and extends as far as the Polo Ground to the south, the Balti bakeries in Chute Rantak in the west and the motorable road going up to the Palace in the east. The area is connected by a labyrinth of narrow, winding pathways that meander past homes some that are over four hundred years old as well as more recent constructions. Located within this area are some of the most important historical buildings including Leh Palace, Namgyal Tsemo Monastery and the Jama Masjid, as well as Leh’s first cinema hall. The area is home to a diverse community from various socio-economic backgrounds from Ladakh, as well as various migrant populations who have settled in from other parts of Jammu and Kashmir and other States in the country such as Bihar, Orissa and Rajasthan.
Since 2010, LAMO has been researching and documenting the neighbourhood of Old Town Leh through household surveys, informal discussions and interviews with residents, recording their memories and dreams for their neighbourhood, documenting the artistic heritage of the area, responding to it through the creation of contemporary art works, collecting archival and contemporary visuals, making videos, looking at public spaces and commercial establishments, exploring the cuisine, music and clothing, and advocating the importance of the area amongst stakeholders and policymakers. Through this project and the exhibition that followed, LAMO’s endeavour was to disseminate the cultural practices of the Old town, recognise the community that lives here and exemplify their hopes and aspirations for the regeneration of the Old Town.
This Exhibition has been made possible with the generous support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Jammu & Kashmir. It is part of the ‘Old Town Leh – The Neighbourhood Project’ that is supported by the Ministry and the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Mumbai.
About the Artist
Research and Documentation Team: