The Girmit Experience

"Girmit is evocative storytelling at its best, blending different digital art forms to immerse the viewer in the important historical and cultural story of Fijian indentured labour." Sarah Allen, Director MozFest Amsterdam 2021

When disinformation was rife, when a fingerprint offered access to an unknown world and freedom was lost in translation, welcome to the word of ‘Girmit’

“Girmit: Defining Moments” a multi-dimensional motion arts experimental immersive experience. That transports the audience on a mind expanding incredible journey of the “Girmitiyas”. To see, understand & feel what it must have been like to be “Laali” - a 14yr old Indian boy on the 7,000 mile trip, to work in sugarcane fields of "Colonial Fiji", and "Saati" who was born in Fiji to indentured labourers and grew up on the island where she met Laali. The two ended up getting married, working through the hardships at this testing time in history, creating an amazing life together.

Despite a global diaspora of tens of thousands of “Girmityas”, the word “Girmit” slang for “Agreement” is not included in the Oxford English Dictionary, heightening the senses, that this is an untold human story and contemporary counter narrative exploring “Indentured Labour” for our post truth and fakebook times - that needed to be told.

Created during multiple lock-downs using traditional & accessible emerging film technologies.

"Rather than take a seat at the table where their protests might be digested into institutional credibility, indentured laborers & a mass movement left the proverbial room where it happens to write their own counternarrative on the realities of indenture" The Harvard Law Review, Legal History 2021

"Totally transported by the world of @lornainmanart and the incredible voice of @TheShamaRahman" Dr Maria del Pilar Kaladeen, Institute of Commonwealth Studies Associate Fellow

"I kind of gave up on the idea of home being a geographical location, so music became my proverbial home." Dr Shama Rahman, Neuro Scientist, Musician & Voice Of The Girmit Experience Poem

  • Ajay Chhabra
  • James Edward Marks
  • Dr Maria del Pilar Kaladeen
  • Professor Satendra Nandan
  • Louise Green
  • Ajay Chhabra
  • James Edward Marks FRSA
    The Banksy Job, Ashens & The Polybius Heist, Hack The Planet VR, The Transubstantiation Of Knowledge
  • Lorna Inman
    Lead Artists
  • Tui Ledu
    Lead Artists
  • Dr Shama Rahman
    Lead Artists
  • Professor Satendra Nandan
    Lead Artists
  • Steve Snooks
    Key Collaborators
  • Jack Hyde
    Key Collaborators
  • Dr David Tully
    Key Collaborators
  • Phil Tidy
    Key Collaborators
  • Ellie Newland
    Key Collaborators
  • Sarah Lowry
    Key Collaborators
  • Iqbal Singh
    Key Collaborators
  • Richard Deverell
    Key Collaborators
  • Caroline Ottaway Searle
    Key Collaborators
  • Marius Matesan
    Key Collaborators
  • Neil Cartwright
    Key Collaborators
  • Jay Brasier-CreaghView Jay Brasier-Creagh’s profile
    Key Collaborators
  • Project Type:
    Virtual Reality, Installation, 360 Video, Augmented Reality, Other
  • Genres:
    Counter Narrative, Heritage, Indenture, Pasifika, World, Art, Culture, True Story, Bio Economics, Documentary, 360, Immersive, VR, AR, Untold Truth, Animation, Multi-dimensional
  • Minimum Runtime:
    8 minutes
  • Maximum Runtime:
    10 minutes
  • Average Runtime:
    10 minutes
  • Variable Runtime Details:
    Variable with hybrid selection of plug and play multi-dimensional elements to create live or remote installation & interactive learning experience.
  • Completion Date:
    July 1, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Student Project:
  • Mozilla Festival 2021 -
    March 11, 2021
    World Wide Web - Exclusive Preview
    Festival Directors Favourite
Distribution Information
  • Nutkhut LTD & PlayLa,bZ CIC
    Country: United Kingdom
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Ajay Chhabra, James Edward Marks

Ajay Chhabra is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Nutkhut.
A British actor, director and producer of Indo-Fijian heritage, Ajay was born and raised in London and Kent and has a passion for the arts and utilising art to engage in themes about identity, history and memory.

Ajay Chhabra has been the driving force behind the creation vision and development of the London Mela since its inception.

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Director Statement

The past 12 months have seen adaption and re-design as a means to an end, amidst our changing circumstances. The entire approach to this project has been diligently thought through, as a direct response to COVID 19. Frankly, it would have been far to easy to put the project on hold and to delay the project until some point in the future. Action was required; doing nothing was not an option.

Working with our UK-based creatives and academics, we reached out to Fiji, Germany, Australia, the USA and India to gather a range of diverse voices. The power of technology enhanced our ability to reach beyond our known networks. Regular zoom meetings gave us all a sense of structure to our lockdown stories.

In this time of change, these virtual meetings became moments of need, and through these meetings, our stories began to develop. From one dimension to many dimensions, through the power of experience and instinct, through the need to tell a hidden history of a community being directly affected by Covid, the desire and need were of the now.

It has been a humbling experience – to enjoy the company of meeting people for the first time, to re-visiting friendships and connections with people we have worked with before. The desire to make this work, come what may, filtered throughout the team.

I am honoured to work with such a team – conscientious, sensitive, aware of the emotional journey, yet constantly prepared to push the human story and the artistic vision to great heights.

Ajay C,

Nutkhut artistic director