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.