Video installation: tryptich, 11 min loop, 2011
A Note on the Installation:
I have been tracking Ram Leela performances and the Chhat Puja celebrations in the city for a larger project of mine detailing music and migration in Mumbai. For this video installation I decided to look at the religious aspect of these two important festivals celebrated by the migrant community that is culturally and linguistically called Bhojpuri. This community hails from north India. This impoverished region has the longest history of migration in the country.
I decided to work on a three-channel installation to allow for moments of private faith to collide with and get offset by moments that are central to a cityscape. Public visibility, political mobilization of the migrant identity, and the larger than life backdrop of the city are the key elements framing, breaking and displacing individual belief in Lord Rama and Mother Chhath.
The narrative of the epic play – Ram Leela, and the ritual of the Chhath Puja are glimpsed through construction sites and cityscapes. A taxi driver weaves through the city to take us to these sites, while regaling us, much like the narrator on the Ram Leela stage, with lines from the play and his own interpretation of the text.
The performer, the performance, the political stage , I am hoping that a three channel installation makes the three distinct layers blur and bleed into one another.