Author Note: During Corona lockdown we were supposed to be home schooling our children whilst keeping up our own full-time work. Struggling with the standard curriculum, which neither they nor I found particularly inspiring, I decided to involve my children in my projects.
It was July. I was making drawings about political prisoners in Bangladesh and India. At the time there was a call to write letters to the jailed intellectual Dr Anand Teltumbde, for his birthday. As I drew, I taught my son about Dr Anand Teltumbde. He listened, then wrote a letter of his own on top:
To Dr Anand Teltumbde,
Hope you are doing well. We all hope that you will be released from prison shortly.
I have been in a situation before where my great uncle, Shahidul Alam, has been imprisoned as well.
In my opinion it is very unfair how you have been put behind bars.
I am also very much love all the work that you have created.
Sofia Karim is an architect, artist and activist based in the UK.
Her work focuses on human rights across Bangladesh and India. She campaigned for the release of imprisoned artists, including her uncle, the Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam and Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera.
She is the founder of Turbine Bagh, a joint artists’ movement against fascism and the rise of far-right nationalism in India and beyond. She has staged protest exhibitions at Tate Modern (Turbine Hall) and has appeared on BBC World News, Channel 4 News, Al Jazeera and Sky News.
She is the founder of books4jail, a project that sends books from artists, writers and cultural institutions to prisoners.
She explores architecture as a language of struggle and resistance and began writing her theories on an ‘Architecture of Disappearance’ during her uncle’s incarceration.
She is a visiting critic at Westminster school of Architecture.