Sheba Chhachhi's (lives in Delhi) work as an installation artist often recuperates myth to calibrate an inquiry into contemporary questions of cultural memory, urban ecology and violence from a feminist perspective. She has been making Public art interventions in Delhi for more than 10 years.
Black Waters Will Burn, 2011
Video Installation, Dimensions Variable
Namami Yamunamaham Yamunadeviji
your waters, fragrant with forest blossoms
Kalindagirimastake patadamanda poorojvalaa
Vilasagamanollasat Prakataganda shailonnata
You cascade down mount kalinda, crystal white,
your flow luxurious Shuka-Mayur-Hansadibhee
Nitambatatasundareemparrots, peacocks, swans as
loving friends, your waves bangles, the sandgems.
your banks curve, beautiful hips. sada tav charitrmatyadbhutam
Na jatu yama-yatana bhavati te payah-panatah One who sips your
waters fears not Yama, god of death, for you are his beloved sister
Iyam tav kathadhika sakalgopika-sangam-smar-shram-jalanubhi
sakal-gatrajaih sangamah your water is the love juice of the gods. In
them one experiences divineerotic bliss Namami YamunamahamO
Daughter of the Sun!!
These lines are excerpted from the Yamunashtakam, a hymn of praise to the River and Goddess Yamuna.
Written in the 15th C and sung till today, the actual state of our Yamunaji, the embodied form of the Devi, renders these words ironic.
Highly toxic rivers can and do catch fire.
The artwork asks us to confront this metaphoric future.
Will the nurturing fertility of the river become the source of devastation? Will water turn into fire?