Malayali artist alleges racial attack in Germany as man smashes his head with crutch

Sajan Mani artist
Sajan said he faced racial attacks even from ticket examiners while travelling in public transport. Photo: Special arrangement, Instagram/ sajan-mani

Kochi: A Malayali artist based in Germany has alleged racial attack in that country after a man assaulted him on Thursday, causing a head injury. Sajan Mani, a native of Kannur who has been staying in Germany for a while now, has been admitted to St. Marien Hospital following the assault.

Sajan said he was attacked by an unidentified man when he was waiting for a bus in front of his studio on the outskirts of Berlin along with a fellow artist. 

"That man had a crutch with him. He pointed it to us and we moved away from there. Then I checked the bus timings displayed there and began to walk with my friend. Unexpectedly, he hit the back of my head like smashing a golf ball. I fell down and he was still after me. I managed to crawl to the other side of the road. Then the police came and I was shifted to the hospital in an ambulance. I have 30 stitches on my head and a few on my ear. Luckily, there is no brain injury," Sajan told Onmanorama from the hospital.

Sharing a video of him describing the attack on the way to the hospital, Sajan had said that it's a daily experience for migrant artists in Germany. Sajan said he had faced racial attacks in the past too.

"Though not horrific as this incident, I have had to face racial attacks multiple times like from ticket examiners while travelling in public transport. Several artists, especially those who are black or brown, have shared their experiences of racial attacks in public and private spaces. It has become a topic of discussion here," he said.

Sajan said he will be taking legal steps to get justice.

A recipient of the Berlin Art Prize 2021 and a recent fellow at Max Planck Institute, Sajan has been working on subaltern themes for long. Last year, he had curated an artistic project titled "Wake up calls for my Ancestors" based on colonial archives comprising South Indian photographs in the Ethnological Museum, Berlin.

Sajan has participated in international biennales, festivals, exhibitions and residencies, including The INHABIT, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (2022), Galerie Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University (2021-22) and Lokame Tharavadu by Kochi Biennale Foundation, (2021).

In 2022, he was awarded the Prince Claus Mentorship Award and Breakthrough Artist of The Year by the Hello India Art Awards. Between 2019-2022 he received an artistic research grant from the Berlin Senate, Fine Arts Scholarship from Braunschweig Projects, and the Akademie Schloss Solitude Fellowship, Germany.

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