Land and Landscape – Students’ Biennale•4th Edition

Land and Landscape

Ajay Kumar Gorai

College of Art, New Delhi

I am interested in using discarded material that is archival in nature – in this instance, pages from old school notebooks. The work evokes memories of the past – it starts with marks, scratches and ink blots, and the dashes, circles and dots that teachers use to indicate mistakes. All the actions associated with submitting, receiving, keeping, storing the copies and then organising and indexing the contents – all that we learn is stored between these pages and we finally just throw the books away.

These notebook papers are ruled for alignment, and the lines of the notebook are an important element as they represent the sedimentation of time and memory. Memory also shapes identity. What we choose to forget and that we choose to remember defines us as human beings. Each material has its own poetry that we can explore, to see what emerges with a minimum exercise of control.

Arindam Manna

Shiv Nadar University

Binocular Rivalry. 2021. 4 sets of drawings, 2 sets of photographs, 1 writing

Hetanshi Patel

Surat School of Fine Arts

Persistence. 2020. Video and sound manipulation
Untitled (1). 2020. Watercolours
Untitled (2). 2020. Gouche on paper

Kuldip Sarma

Surat School of Fine Arts

Madhurjya Dey

Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara

Click on the image to view this project. Note: This project links to an external website. Kochi Biennale Foundation attempts to periodically confirm content, but has no direct control over this external website. The privacy policy will also vary.

My practice is invested in how personal and collective memories enmesh and complicate state and regional histories, particularly in the North Eastern region of India. I was born and raised in Haflong in the Dima Hasao district in Assam. Haflong, a small town (and the only) hill-station in Assam also forms the lens through which diverse narratives play out. I work with narrative storytelling, particularly devices of short prose, blank verse and open poetry, with oil painting and experimental sculptures. Employing an autobiographical format, personal accounts are fictionalised or multiple stories are patched together to form one multi-limbed narrative. 

This project is an extension of my last work, The Shepard Tone (2020). It is a hyperlinked fictional narrative, where the viewer can navigate through the plot on their own. The work is based on the letter sent to the protagonist by his brother.

In the year 1989, an individual sent a letter to his brother, who was banished to a remote section of Northeast India. The exchange of letters resulted from an incident that occurred in a fabric store two years back. No one in the family or in related circles talked about it. In the same year, the State Legislative Assembly passed the Nagaland Alcohol Prohibition Act. For this reason, all the licensed liquor manufacturing distilleries collapsed. All the workers were not natives, there were outsiders too. The protagonist of the narrative was a store-house manager at one distillery there. He was an outsider. His newly found shelter was in jeopardy again, like his last one. The locals of his native land banished him for a lifetime where he lived for thirty-years. He struggled with his mental health and the grief of staying away from his family. Letters bridged the distance. 

This work (A migratory hostage) is based on the reply by the protagonist to the received letter. 

Hrishitonoy Dutta

Ambedkar University Delhi

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Our relationship and dynamics with the spaces we occupy are ever-evolving, sometimes even apathetic. Knowingly or unknowingly, each day is consumed by exchanges and negotiations, some deals we make and some deals are made by our non-human animal counterparts. But how do you engage with a space, with land, when it is as volatile as Spirit? How do you keep up with the inconsistent yet constant alterations? ‘It isn’t stealing if no one wants it’. But who decides what is unwanted? When we take over supposed wastelands inhabited by termites and other creatures & critters, is the land really unwanted? And when the termites make nests in books that were never opened anyway, are the books really unwanted? 

Our journey began in the library at Parijat Academy, where each subconscious negotiation became apparent to us, upon noticing the termites that occupied the wooden shelves and pulpy books. We wondered and put to test- Can the act of sitting and reading together show how interaction in these uncertain times can reveal something about us. Reading and growing together amidst a termite colony, one of the most tightly knit societies, both literally and figuratively, is all the more reason to do so.

When one reads the zine, they are actually interacting with a piece of the library, the pulp of the books that were eaten and the zine that would be eaten too. We learn to navigate our way into getting to know the students by picking up books ourselves. The act of reading together or taking a book makes the children come to us. Friendships were nurtured, nestled in a room that neither party had explored before- the library turned into a haven for us, just as it was for the termites paving their way through pulp. The revelations we had through the course of creating this zine are mainly owing to these very beginnings, coupled with our visits, with the students, to the Pothar. We sat with them, watched them play football and sometimes even tagged along when they went fishing. After about two months with them, suddenly during the end of December there was landfilling that was underway. This required that the rainfed ponds and swamps be drained; The city was growing…

Would the fish need to evolve into amphibians like we do, to keep up?

These exercises, we thought, could bring about a new dimensionality. What are the new meanings of the spaces created now?

Perhaps a lexicon (in the form of a zine) would reflect the time it was made in. To reflect both on the past and present that is liable to change, it reads like a record of instances.
Upon asking the students about how they feel about the ongoing landfilling and changing landscapes- what if you could not fish  or play in the field anymore, most students were uncertain. While a couple of them shrugged their shoulders with a slightly desolate ‘I don’t know’. One of the students countered the questions with what seemed like over optimistic solutions-alternatives to counter the dystopian unfortunate present.

This zine is to recall pieces of the library as it was the first point of contact. From ‘a’ watching to reading together with the other readers, the zine was made by using the memories of an endangered space; the precarious nature of such a space as a kind of belonging – the library being the locus of these conversations- Perhaps a necessary and a temporary consequence of the dizzying rate of progress

From reading of a nest to making our own nests with things found in the pothar*. Forms made of wire exist now within the wireframe of the website. While wires are supposed to support structures and maintain structural integrity, these wires that have recorded a fleeting memory of the Pothar are temporary and malleable.

Nishchay Thakur

College of Art, New Delhi

My work mainly focuses on issues of cultural identity and memories of rural life. Due to the lockdown, I had the opportunity to observe these issues more closely. As I belong to a peasant family, my childhood was spent in my village in Balaghat, (district Khairlanji) in Madhya Pradesh where I experienced the aroma of the soil, and retain cherished memories of the faces of people, the flora and fauna. Due to industrialization and the increasing pace of life, things have changed a lot, and the rural have lost their identity. Farmers are moving away from organic farming to chemical based farming, which includes fertilizers, pesticides and many harmful chemicals that lead to the deterioration of flora and fauna. The fragrance of the village lifestyle has faded rapidly, all are focused on the urban lifestyle.

The work was made in my ancestor’s home that was being used for the storage of tools for farming and other miscellaneous work. The walls of that old building were ideal, as I have spent a great deal of time there during my childhood with my family and relatives, particularly my grandfather’s brother. Those walls ignited a strong nostalgia inside me when I visited the place after a couple of years.  It is a huge mud house with terracotta roof titles, and it recalled that lost village of my childhood. I carved silhouettes of my memories on the walls, and shot a series of videos that I would like to project on an urban wall, to evoke the essence of rural culture.

Bhoor. 2020. On village wall
Jivhika. 2020. On village wall
Shard Ratein (1). 2020. On village wall
Shard Ratein (2). 2020. On village wall

Pahul Singh

Maharaja Sayajirao University

In what language does one write memoirs when there is no mother tongue?

Aakhar Bodh. 2019. Digital print (book cover), Pen and ink on Nepalese paper (book block)
Ik Do Das. 2019. Digital print (book cover), Pen and ink on Nepalese paper (book block)
Panti Aakhar. 2020. Digital print collage, Pen and ink on Nepalese paper 
Ginti, Ikk, Do…Das. 2020. Digital print collage, Pen and ink on Nepalese paper 

Shubham Kumar

Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara

GHARE, KHET, DERA I. 2018-19. Watercolour on paper. (Set of 43 works).

GHARE, KHET, DERA II. 2018-19. Watercolor on paper.

RUN. 2019. Watercolour on paper.

ORYZA(I,II,III). 2019. Watercolour on paper.

DERA IV. 2019. Watercolour on paper.

Sourav Garai

Shiv Nadar University

Artists Unknown. 2019. Digital Photography
Rupture. 2019
Photographic Documents I. 2019. Digital Photography
Photographic Documents II. 2019. Digital Photography
Shaping the Terrain. 2019. Digital Photography