Work 1 - Fire
An installation with photographs printed on reflective silver foil, ceramic works and discarded objects. The image is 4 x 6 feet framed within a constructed bamboo structure. It illustrates a tree disrupting a grave, ejecting out of the gravestones which are now merely rubble. On the ground, a decaying tree stump of 1.5 feet with stacks of 20 cow dung cakes creating a 3 foot tall stand for an earthen ceramic stove. Within the stove are delicately glazed flames of fire. Upon the stove is a ceramic dead body ready to be cremated. Hanging from below the large photo are circular images of a woman making bhakris (indian breads).
This work is a result of a collaborative effort with Ruby – a ceramic artist, and Manoj, Lala Mistry, Bhullan and Ganesh the installation team. I photographed the grave in a British cemetery near my house in Pune, and later worked on a conceptualizing supplementary ceramic works listed above. With the help of the installation team, we searched for the tree stump and installed a rod in it to hold the stacks of cowdung cakes and solidified it to support the ceramic works. Meanwhile Ruby experimented various ways to make the ceramics to bring the concept to life.
I am exploring the various qualities of the elements of fire and how they play a role in our lives ranging from the cosmic to the sentient. Fire manifests in our lives internally – through the digestive fire as well as the destructive forces that gives birth to a new through the cycle of life. That is why I chose to shoot this image, a decolonization of the linear forms of death as well as the elucidation of how unless we eat, we will not survive and the role of the discovery of fire in the history of the human journey on this planet.
Work 2 - Earth
An installation with photographs printed on reflective silver foil, ceramic works and discarded objects. The 4 x 6 feet image illustrates an old woman’s body curled up, focusing on the detail of her skin. Framed within the bamboo structure, the empty space below is filled with a 2 x 4 feet image of tree roots cracking a wall. In front of the image is a stack of bricks. Terracotta, cement, old, new and ceramic bricks create a stand. Ceramic roots and writing from Ovid Metamorphosis are inlayed within the bricks. Along with this, trash (a keyboard, espresso cups, aluminum foil crumpled up) and a few miniature buildings making a skyline above the bricks.
The images are printed on silver foil and laminated. Mounted on foam board. Ruby and I spent time with the Ovid text and isolated phrases that would compliment the concept. She progressed to write these on clay. I acquired the trash from a recycling collector and inserted it in the gaps formed in the stacking of the bricks. I scavenged for unused bricks in my neighborhood. Looking for a variety of materials used to create the building blocks of the urban environment. Ruby created the little buildings with stoneware and glazed them to look shiny like glass buildings.
The nude image is a result of a long and trusting relationship I developed with an old lady who lived on my parents farm. Her natural, pure being inspired me to capture her body as a representation of Mother Earth, as the folds of her flesh created lumps of topographical human history of time. I am interested in drawing connections between the body as a reproducing element just like earth, which gives life to many beings. Thus exploring earth as – home. Expanding into using found material to further engage in the dialog between mass, matter, form and function of the everyday objects created from earth elements.
Work 3 - Water
A image printed on silver foil of an oil spill on muddy grass 4 x6 feet encased in a bamboo frame. It illustrates oil shining with colors of cool blue and silver, looking like a secretion. In front of the image is 4 foot tall stand created out of small plastic mineral water bottles. Above this a big Biseleri container filled with water and oil, followed by a discarded drainpipe. Above that a melting clay pot with a tap, dripping water, above that a more defined clay pot with dry ice and vapours and finally a fully formed pot with a red cloth covering the top. Below more melting pots with plants receiving the water droplets accompanied by 3 A2 sized images of various ways water is stored in India.
This image was shot in Kashmir. I collected the materials to create a stand for the ceramic works from the neighborhood. Scavenged the small bottles and other trash from a recycling collector. Cut the discarded drainpipe to size. Ruby made the small melting pots and kept them in the soil, planted seeds and let the moss collect. We assembled the stand to check its durability in order to hold the ceramic work. The burnt oil was collected from a mechanics garage. All images are printed on ceramic foil.
I wanted to show that water as an element is not only h2O. I am exploring how liquids play a strong role in our lives. Oil being such a strong part of our daily lives, it is also used to create plastic. I struck by the fact that it cost much less to produce little plastic bottles, than discard or recycle. Thus it was important to explore the transition of plastic bottle to drainpipe to the old clay pots used in the past. I wanted to draw attention to how our ways of storing water have gone from sustainable to wasteful. I wanted to explored a multilayered experience of how we look at water and fluidity in urban India.
Second Draft (after group feedback)
Steve's note to all: I suggest you cut the headings: what, how & why. The text will hold up well.