Else, all will be still
April 7, 2016 – May 14, 2021
Artworks in Exhibition
Two years back, I had a close encounter with the sea, a first for an inland urban person. It continues. The ‘ground’ changing experiences, led me to further my ongoing explorations about the man-nature relationship and the question – What is nature?
The pursuit revealed new ways of imagining. I was led to ancient Tamil Sangam akam love poetry, where five landscapes. Kurinji – mountains, Mullai– forests, Marutam – agricultural lands, Neithal– sea, Palai – desert, became an internal terrain of feelings – sexual union, yearning, sulking, pining, and separation, through its short direct verse. The outside became inside as object and subject co-formed each other.
Today, the planet is in an ecological crisis. Nature has been reduced to an object which can only be ‘acted’ upon through it being ‘extracted,’ ‘admired,’ ‘enjoyed,’ etc. but not ‘lived’ with. The relationship is one of power. Capitalism, technology, mass production, resource exploitation, all have prospered though this positioning. Wilderness has been privatized, forests fenced, rivers tamed, and animals made extinct. There seems no going back from consumption, and progress. It is the age of the power of man, the Anthropocene. No one can guarantee future survival.
The entrenched oppositional binary needs to be questioned and other positions with nature recovered. Deluze’s with his idea of positive difference, Guattari’s thesis on three ecologies, Tim Morton’s rejection of ‘nature’ itself, or the Buddhist proposition of a non-dual self, offer clues to where one can look. Nature defined merely by science needs to be read alongside ideas of mortality, fragility, vulnerability, balance, equity and democracy.
The works are an outcome of my struggle to comprehend the times we inhabit. Fishermen friends helped me navigate new waters.’ The ever changing sea led me to these explorations. Urgency is in the air. Else, all will be still.