The following is a portion of the correspondence between Mara Ahmed and Claudia Pretelin. Ahmed is an interdisciplinary artist and activist filmmaker based on Long Island, New York. Claudia is an art historian, independent researcher, and arts administrator based in Los Angeles, California. Their correspondence is a collage of text, images, and references both literary and cultural. It is intimate and global, straddling distances between Mexico, Pakistan, Belgium and the US.
The idea of leaving something of ourselves in places we visit or reside in, reminded me of the opening lines in A Thin Wall, my documentary film about the 1947 partition of India:
Places inhabit us, as much as we inhabit them. They form the myths and lore of who we are. Landscapes with edges softened by memory, imagined homes, burnished light – dream-soaked remnants of loves and lives, stubborn in how they bind us to the past even as we are propelled into the future.
Published in Mason Street, The literary magazine of Newark Public Library, on March 8, 2022.