A retrospective of negotiating routes on display in upcoming exhibition

New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) A 6-feet-long wooden boat projected with images of Odishas cultural diversity, an accordion-shaped book narrating tales of one of the oldest women members of Chipko movement and a radio station that talks about benefits of traditional medicinal plants are among some of the works at a retrospective of “Negotiating Routes in an upcoming exhibition here.

Titled “Evidence Room,” the exhibition will take place at Khoj Studios here and will be open to public from February 1 to March 15.

The works of some known as well as fresh faces such as Aastha Chauhan, Asim Waqif, Jyotiranjan Jena, Alex White-Mazzarella and Soaib Grewal will be on display in the exhibition.

Between the year 2010 and 2014, Khoj Studios had given grants to artists for fourteen projects under their public art initiative “Negotiating Routes,” to live and work with fishermen, villagers and farmers and create an alternate road map where artists and communities come together to be involved in discussions on the regeneration of the local ecology of the cities of villages that they inhabit.

These projects spanned semi-urban and rural areas as diverse as Chamba in Uttarakhand, Chungthang in Sikkim and Wadhwana Wetlands in Gujarat to Jakkur Lake in Bengaluru, Chilika Lake in Odisha and Najibabad in Uttar Pradesh.

“Khoj has selected 12 of these projects and the artists were asked to recreate their work which could be shown easily on site at the Khoj premises. Through photographs, videos, sculptural work and textual documentation, visitors will get to see the alternative road map for sustainable development in our country,” said Mario D’Souza, Curator, Khoj Studios.

For instance, Amit Mahanti and Ruchika Negi chose to travel to Chungthang and Dzongu region of Sikkim to study the changing ecology of the mountain state due to dams.

“They created a catalogue of their impressions about people’s anxieties about the damage of habitat through conversations with the locals and through photographic documentation. In the show at Khoj, they will be showing three video films that speak about such a memory and loss with reference to water as a resource,” the organisers said in a statement.

Similarly, Sunandita Mehrotra lived and worked with one of the oldest women members of the Chipko Movemnet in Tehri Garhwal region.

“I realised the angst women folk had about their role not being recognised in this movement,” said Mehrotra.

For the show, Sunandita has created a 12-page graphic comic book, in the shape of an accordion, narrating some of these tales.