The African Diaspora In India

Glossary: Habashi- an ethnonym for Africans in Asia. Siddi- an ethnonym for Afro-Indians. The African Diaspora in India explores the narrative of the ‘Siddi’ which is a community of Afro-Indians in Gujarat. The collection concept is focused on the historical ancestry of Africans migrating across the Indian Ocean during the 17th century. Pre-colonised India was ruled over by the Mughal Dynasty between the 15th and mid 18th centuries. The Muslim emperors created allies with the African explorers that came to India, alongside those that came through the Arabian slave trade. Due to their physical strength and nature, it was believed that the Mughals wanted to keep the Siddis so that they can join forces in protecting the cultural artefacts such as Jewellery, architecture and temples. These cultural artefacts were significantly important to the Mughals as they knew how much value their jewels had, and how much their enemies wanted them. Throughout my collection, I have created a series of digital print, that has been inspired by Mughal Jewels found in the V&A from the Al-THANI collection. I also Infuse Bespoke Tailoring to reflect the Congolese Dandie representing the Africans, within the diaspora. Each design that I have created has been manifested in my personal heritage in mind and is an exploration of my own self Identity and most importantly highlights a narrative of the forgotten Afro-Indians.

Team Credits

Zahra Shamji

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