Life in the Polka Dots (2015)

Smita Sharma
Life in the Polka Dots
Inkjet prints on paper
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist


Smita Sharma’s photojournalistic work centres the traumatised and forgotten voices of those subjected to human rights abuses. Life in the Polka Dots (2015) is a photo-documentary exploration of chitmahals—Indian and Bangladeshi cross-border enclaves. Prior to a 2015 agreement, this fraught border had thousands of Bangladeshis living in enclaves within India, and tens of thousands of Indians residing in enclaves within Bangladesh. A legacy of British colonialism, the ‘polka dots’ were contested for nearly six decades. Sharma’s series offers a window into these lawless territories deprived of water, electricity, hospitals and schools, foregrounding the daily rhythms of their modes of working and gathering.