In Jim Ede’s time the entrance to the Kettle’s Yard sitting and dining room featured a rug that Ede purchased in India in 1919, during his early twenties. On the occasion of Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, ‘Jim Ede and India’ uncovers how the South Asian subcontinent was a crucial point of departure for the Kettle’s Yard House and collection, as well as for the friendships and philosophies cultivated by its owner.
‘Jim Ede and India’ presents new discoveries from Kettle’s Yard and other national archives and collections, encompassing rare correspondence, photographs, art and non-art objects. In Ede’s own words, his service in the British Indian Army and travels across northern India between 1917–19 ‘reverberated’ throughout his life. This display traces these reverberations in his ties with the Indian cultural and political elite in 1930s London, his intimate friendships with TE Lawrence, William Congdon and other expatriates to India, and his lifelong curiosity for South Asian history, geography, politics, culture and religion.
The display focuses on one instance of British engagement with India during the decades before and after Partition, bringing this volatile history to an individual level. An officer in the British Indian Army, Ede was an ambassador for the British Empire, yet later in life he became allies with pro-independence Indian revolutionaries. By charting these connections and contradictions for the very first time, ‘Jim Ede and India’ reveals the many colours of the collector’s relation to India.
Curated by Alina Khakoo with Frieda Midgley.