Imaginary Homelands - Salman Rushdie in his Study 1991

The project ‘Imaginary Homelands’, is a recent installation based on Salman Rushdie, during his nine year hermetic exile, as a result of the fatwa placed upon him.
Continuing to write novels from makeshift studies in undisclosed hotel rooms, the author slowly pieced together objects from his former life to create a better working environment out of these impersonal rooms. It was here that the writer began to retreat into constructs of his imagination, as he, in his own words ‘struggled to recreate an idea of place in his writing that was not out of touch with the reality of it’.
In this installation portraying his makeshift hotel study, these constructs begin to manifest. A pile of erroneous notes starts to take on the form of Mount Everest as smoke from his lit cigarette forms around it as clouds; his leaking pen appearing as the great Ganges river, flowing across his study desk.
Through this concise use of symbols, the project references and contemporizes the great renaissance works depicting ‘St Jerome in his Study’; now with Rushdie at its centre as the similarly reclusive protagonist.
Ultimately the project is about the Indian writer’s struggle to maintain his identity and how he sought to bring to life, through his writings, an India and a Britain that he was locked away from.

Check out CCTV footage of the Installation interior, here.