Friday, October 31, 2008

Sweet Sugarcane at the 46th Festival - Fisher's Ghost Art Award. 31 October - 24 November. Campbelltown Arts Centre

Urban Changes project was organised by the Goethe-Institut Mumbai and it invited 7 photographers to Mumbai in 2007. I was a member of the international seven-photographer team. The Urban Changes exhibition travelled to many cities starting from Mumbai : Pune, Delhi, Karachchi, Bangalore and Colombo. My body of work of Urban Changes project is currently hung at the he 46th Festival - Fisher's Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown, Australia.

Sugarcane juice manufacture is a flourishing business in Mumbai. From its roots of cottage industry, Sugar cane juice came to dominate the street market of post independent India as the common man’s drink. The juice has expanded to every corner of the city following in the treks of the ceaseless waves of migrant workers flocking in to the city. The harvesting of sugar cane is seasonal. Thus the people who work the cane fields and the processing of sugar cane are also truly seasonal workers, travelling from one state to the other, following the harvesting. The workers live in cramped dank rooms, space being a rare luxury in Mumbai. A great part of their social and biological activities and interactions are satisfied within these confines. Most live a frugal life in order to send the bulk of their earnings to families back home. However, a silent resilience and the ability to take pleasure in the very simple things in life appear to sustain them, in part reflecting the story of the sugar cane juice itself which, unsophisticated as it may seem, had managed to survive the drastic urban changes that took over post independent India including the pressure from major soft drink brands.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dumburu. Kalu. The first guest. Coming from nowhere. Disappears into thin air

Kalu was the very very first guest to our house. Advancing in his senior age, Kalu knew how to make friends. As he walked into our home no sooner we moved in, Kalu freely roamed inside the house suggesting to us "hey i know this place before you guys". He has now become an everyday visitor for meals. He does not bother anyone other than marking the territory. May be he too is trying to protect territorial integrity as defence forces do world over. Kalu does not stay long when he turns up. Would have his meal, get petted a bit, hang around a bit and then would disappear into thin air. No one knows where he goes and where he comes from. Young and smart female Dumburu's arrival did not go down well with Kalu. Nonetheless Dumburu continues to come for meals. She seems to be a bit of a spoilt one. Knows how to pester to get her meal fast. God knows where she comes and goes too. We are thankful to both of them for giving us the opportunity to share something.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"I saw nothing". "I said nothing". Gary Crew. Thylacine. Paradise Parrot. Extinction. 23 birds. 4 frogs. 27 mammals

"I saw nothing" and "I said nothing" are the titles of two children story books by the multi award winning author Gary Crew. The former talks of the experience of a young girl with regard to last thylacine (popularly known as tiger wolf). The Thylacine was a marsupial and an apex predator which became extinct in mid 1930s as the last of its kind died in Hobart Zoo. "I said nothing" is a version of a young boy about a Paradise Parrot which was considered to be the last of the species. This Parrot was seen last in 1927 according to the story. In giving a complete list of Australian vertebrate extinctions from 1788 to the present, Wikipedia says "There are 23 birds, 4 frogs, and 27 mammal species known to have become extinct since European settlement of Australia".