We, The People

Who are we? What pasts shape our society?
‘We, The People’ is a series of seventy-six works that attempts to chart an alternative timeline of the nation through the fissures and faults that structure our present. Drawing inspiration from Eduardo Galeano, who implores us to “search for the keys in the past history to explain our time”, this work maps our collective past and memory, highlighting lesser-known events that can shed light on our present. Moments from the history of modern India beginning with Margaret Bourke White’s heart-wrenching photographs of the partition and images of subsequent events such as the Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, the Narmada valley and the Chipko movement drawn from news archives are hand-embroidered onto individual khadi textiles inscribed with a map of the country. A map formed by an assemblage of tiny blots and bleeds created by tie and dye with carmine extracted from Cochineal (a scale insect, Dactylopius coccus), symbolising the blood that continues to be spilt in the making of the nation. One map in this series is deliberately left empty to signify that thinking about overlooked and erased histories that upset the narrative of progress is an incomplete project. This map becomes a space to record events, for thinking about the future through the past must be a collective activity to heal as a society.