Curatorial Note

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Root: An enquiry in to our own self identity: Suresh K Nair

Let me begin with a small anecdote: “can you bring our village to Varanasi?” my father asked me while in Varanasi, recently. He was visiting me from Kerala and was worried of the isolation, which he was experiencing psychologically. Time and again he was feeling the loneliness to connect back to his roots, desperate and concerned.

This incident had a strong impact on my mind and thus I started to think of the Roots: how significant and essential it is to connect; with the self and others, with the ecology and nature, with every living being on this planet and so forth. Each one of us have ever thought about our own roots, both in terms of physical and psychological. We have our own vernacular language, history, tradition, food habit, belief, customs and rituals etc., that has continually nurtured our persona, thought process and behavior and thus, our physical displacements are overpowered by the or roots. We carry our own stories and experiences from the root, wherever we go.

In a simpler way root is understood by the roots of trees, plants and that is the source of acquiring water and minerals from soil. Thus, the metaphor of root has been chosen for the project, which not only engages in connecting to its soil but also becomes the one to choose the right mineral for its growth and so is water. It’s a recent phenomenon that one comes across, has thrown open a challenge to the humanity in for of shortage of usable water. The global concern has been taken up by the experts to create awareness to save water and use it wisely in various walks of life as much needed, storing the rest of it for future use. People in rural and remote areas has been facing this on a daily basis. Kustia village, which has not been much impacted by technology, and as much I have travelled and spent time there as an artist, has enough components to provide in order to take this project forward. Emphasis on the roots, right from the religious texts to present practices, has been underlined significantly.

Thus, in this edition, Roots and water (with specific significance) will drive the minds of the artists to respond and create their works, as a part of direct experience and/or probable opportunity, that Kustia village can offer, bringing in the diverse thinking minds from all over the world and posing an inquiry into their own identity.

Suresh K Nair

November 1, 2019
Varanasi, India