Cups of nun chai

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During December Cups of nun chai in its latest form, as three bound volumes, will inhabit the frontyard library.

>>>>> Cups of nun chai is at once a search for meaning in the face of something so brutal it appears absurd, and an absurd gesture when meaning itself became too much to bear. It is a participatory memorial that unfolded over two years and tea and conversation in response to Kashmir’s summer of 2010 when 118 civilians died in pro-freedom protests. Over the course of two years Alana Hunt shared 118 cups of nun chai (a Kashmiri salt tea) with 118 people across Australia, in Brussels and Bangkok, across different parts of India and finally in Kashmir. Alana took a photo of each person holding their cup of tea and wrote from memory about each conversation, which connected Kashmir’s story and the summer of 2010 to countless other places and peoples around the world.

From mid-2016 the work circulated as a newspaper serial in Kashmir reaching over ten thousand people on a weekly basis over eleven months during the uprising of 2016. Now bound into three volumes these 100+ newspapers don’t only contain Cups of nun chai, they are an almost day-by-day document of this period in Kashmir’s recent history written in part by the artist, in part by world events, by Kashmiri journalists, by the actions of the state and civilians, and by advertisers whose very business enable the production and circulation of the newspaper itself. Together they paint a telling picture of life in Kashmir and shed light on its relationship with the world we share. Cups of nun chai embodies the literal collision of memory and news, of subjectivity and event, of absurdity and urgency, and of fury and sensitivity. It is an ode to those who have died and those who survive.