Nashra Balagamwala is an Experiential Designer, currently studying the intersection of art and politics at Harvard University. Originally from Pakistan, her work involves the critical exploration of taboo subjects, frequently transforming controversial ideas into games, designs and experiences.
Her most recent project is a call for peace between Pakistan and India. The Pulwama attacks and recent revocation of Article 370, have led to a rise in tensions between Pakistan and India – with the looming threat of a nuclear war.
Majority of this conflict stems from the governmental level, however, it is a well-known fact that Pakistani and Indian expatriates are drawn to one another immediately after they are removed from the negative sentiments their home countries enforce.
Balagamwala was intrigued by the location of the two consulates in New York – they are on the same block, back to back. Although the two nations were “dis-connected” in 1947, she found it compelling that 8000 miles away, they are still connected. This under-stated block has the power to destroy or save 125 million lives.
Along with Akansha Gupta, an Indian volunteer, Nashra held an intervention outside these consulates. Wearing red, in solidarity with Kashmir; connected at all times, either back to back, in the same space, or with a red string, they used these newly designed flags and sculptures as a call for peace.
The project was titled “disconnected,” and it aims to challenge the bitter narrative imposed by those in power. By transforming elements of the flags into peace symbols, they are asking for an end to the brutality, and future conversations of reasonable peace.