In January 2020 India was in the grip of mass protests sparked by anti-Muslim citizenship laws. As a gesture of diaspora solidarity, Karim planned ‘Turbine Bagh’, a protest at the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern museum, London. ‘Turbine Bagh’ is a reference to Shaheen Bagh, the women-led protest in Delhi which was the epicentre of the resistance prior to COVID-19 lockdown. Karim worked with artists, writers, poets, musicians and thinkers across the world to create Turbine Bagh samosa packets which would be displayed at the event then sent to protest sites after. The event was postponed due to COVID-19 but Turbine Bagh carried on as a UK based platform for political art focused on India and Bangladesh. Turbine Bagh has been involved in campaigns for political prisoners and seeks to offer support to artists working in a climate of fear and repression. It began as a joint artists’ movement against fascism and authoritarianism, through the humble and familiar object of the samosa packet, and it continues. These are some of the samosa packets that were created.
Sofia Karim’s practice combines architecture, visual art and activism. She has practiced architecture for over 20 years at studios including Norman Foster’s in London and Peter Eisenman’s in New York. Her activism focuses on human rights across Bangladesh and India, campaigning for the release of imprisoned artists, including Shahidul Alam (her uncle) and Tania Bruguera. Karim is the founder of Turbine Bagh, a joint artists’ movement against fascism and authoritarianism and has staged protest exhibitions at Tate Modern (Turbine Hall). Her work has been presented at Harvard University and exhibited in museums and galleries in New York, Delhi and London. Her campaigns and art have been featured in publications including The Observer, The New York Times, The Art Newspaper and British Journal of Photography. Karim has appeared on BBC World News, Channel 4 News, Al Jazeera and Sky News. She is a visiting critic at Westminster school of Architecture.