Natural elements have been the centre of rituals, traditions and social behaviours through time and space. One of them, being water, has been the locus of civilizations and the metaphor for a range of things- from persistence to adaptability to time itself. Rivers have become sacred and the ocean waves as a source of tranquillity. While all of that paints a calm picture, we are not unaware of the damage a stream of water can do; despite all that, it remains to be the core of human actions.
The corrosive seawater yields a very valuable mineral that is of great importance to human health. The vast landscape of salt pans on the shore provide a scenic view, exemplifying the damaging nature of water for the hands of the workers. While they do provide a livelihood, these pans are also necessary for the ecosystem around. With the land being promised to developers, it is a matter of time before they become obsolete, rendering a whole system displaced.
Banks and shores symbolise the point of rest or the end of a journey after enduring the charges of the currents. Conversely, people from the mainland flock to the shore to feel a sense of quiet because they see the vastness of the water in front of them and soak in the immensity of the horizon. The boat here stands witness to the deserved slumber after a journey in the sea, it is also a symbol for a stage in life where we have experienced and achieved all that we wanted and now it is time to sit back and relax.
The black and white image in all its rawness shows us the danger water carries with it. Annually, floods and shifting courses of river ravage fields, villages and lives, and communities are left to fend for themselves. The massive amount of gushing water tramples everything in its path and leaves water inundated, damaging the land and leaving it infertile. The floating utensils and the fields in the background show the remnants of that damage.
An ephemeral hope, caught in the moment, the hope to get a good bounty and a safe journey home. Fishermen along the coast of India know the waves like the back of their hand, their skill at reading the clouds and understanding the temperature of water with the availability of fish is commendable. Captured here is one such boat, where the group effort of a few men, women or even children gets them their livelihood. The salt water and the charged currentsare their aides.
The river here invokes every metaphor ever associated with the river. While some have seen the flowing water as the time flowing away, others have extended it on to life itself- with its meanders and pace. The river occupies a space that transcends boundaries and infused with the force that has this outside human control (until the engineers could create dams). It also stands for femininity in cultures, but also death itself, and all of these sensations are neatly packed together in one frame.
Also view a collection of artworks on sea here: Sea Paintings