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Chukki’s work looks at the speculated love story that took place in the 13th century between Razia Sultan, and Jamal ud din Yakut, an Abyssinian slave turned nobleman who rose to the ranks of the Delhi court. Yakut soon became a close advisor and was widely rumored in the court and amongst the nobles to be the queen’s lover.

Through the medium of video, Chukki unpacks the notion of dilemma and how the idea of belonging and memory work in this context. The artist’s interest lies in the character of Jamaluddin Yakut, and the dilemma that he faces as a slave, a warrior, a lover and a noble in the court. “I want to construct fiction through a conversation between the two lovers and look at this dilemma that still exists in contemporary society amongst African Indian couples. By developing the idea of belonging through fiction it further allows the shedding of hierarchy between the two characters and of them in regard to history”.

At around the same time of the two lovers in the 13th century, the traveler Ibn Battuta travels from East Africa to India. His travels chart a physical compass that measure the scale and physicality of cultural difference and confronts this dilemma of identity. Chukki looks at Battuta’s journey and the existence of these two characters at the same time in history. Through the idea of the traveler he attempts to look at the notion of memory and remembering as a catalyst, and also seeks to examine how fictions of the ‘other’ and the notions of black masculinity are created through memory, remembrance, rumor and the act of chronicling.

Chukki’s work enters this historical jump; from13th century medieval India to the contemporary moment. This project observes the notion of dilemma, and its’ continued existence in belonging and memory when we look at the African identity.