RIVERS (she/he/her/him/it) 
Moving Image, Duration 9.25min, debuted on July 21, 2021, in the opening of the RCA 2021 Contemporary Art Practice Degree Show at Cromwell Place.

River (she/he/her/him/it)

 

Archives and social histories inform a provocative approach to storytelling in my works.

Two rivers that have been a source of succour for me–Thames in my present, a much-needed anchor in these turbulent and uncertain (Covid) times and River Ganga (Ganges) from my past.

 

The soft sound of the lapping waves, water gurgling past or at times gently on its journey...an infinite and insatiable hunger to meet the sea.

Water surges in exactly the same manner as it did back home.

The sunlight dances on its ripples like tiny river nymphs, as they did back home

The water here has the same promise to wet and drench me if I dipped in it, as it would back home.

Its nature of the movement, of the finality of the passing time, its magnitude of infiniteness.

Of it being the giver of life and death both, have inspired many, the poets, the artists in the same manner as it has back home.

Here, where it surges, it flows, it nourishes,

as back home where she meanders and fulfils all just the same as it does thousands of miles away...they both do the same thing, connect people, touch lives, never still, never-ending, a constant, just like the sun, the stars...one becomes a father, a God, Father Thames…a mother, a goddess they call her Gangaji with respect and love.

I sit beside it and it calls on me in the same manner, when I am next to it fills me with melancholy, makes me ruminate on the nature of existence... my eyes gravitate to it every morning just in the same way... I wish to dip my hands, but don’t, I hesitate... it never occurs to me to dip my body in it ... as I would back home. it must be the cold weather I suppose 

The magnitude of the endless life cycle of water, its timelessness - the river to the sea. ...from the sea and back again to the river makes it a perfect analogy for the cyclical nature of human life, of Karma.

 The majestic, the mighty, the infinite. 

Just as the Ganga, the Thames reflects back the mood of the sky and the day, it seems serene, when washed in the sunset colours,

or dark and scary and ominous in the inky colours of the night, moody and charged up reflecting the mood of an impending storm effectively.

That’s what I am conditioned to believe in, the river has no agenda or purpose other than just flow.

It has no reasons other than the physics or the science of the forces that are leading it to be, or do what it does,

nor is it affected by the meanings or rituals that are being attached to it by us.

It just flows…

It is a life-giver, yes, because of its nature, water - a life source. It houses hundreds and thousands of species of flora and fauna in and around it, of the thousands that it supports - humans are one.

So if it is assigned a gender or title; a father- Father Thames, or a Mother- Ma Ganga (Gangaji). Does it change the nature of its being?

It just flows regardless.

The genders assigned, the stories, the mythologies woven around these majestic giants tell us a lot about the cultures they inhabit or flow through.

Humans have always wanted to control, aspire to have powers over nature- our stories, our mythologies reflect these elaborate naked desires as none other;

how one was able to part the river to make a path to be walked on or…how one walked on water...

 It is the same both in the UK as well in India. 

Makes me shudder to even imagine if humans had such powers, what we would have done?