While the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is more commonly associated with fun and creative pursuits, a photographer with a passion for social messages is trying to use the event as a conduit for some serious stuff.
Samar Jodha’s 3D multimedia exhibition, which throws light on the Bhopal gas tragedy, has already drawn crowds of over 1,200 people since the festival kickstarted this weekend.
Contained in a walk-through metal container, the 3D photographs are placed in ‘windows’ and back-lit so that viewers can “experience it rather than just view it,” says Jodha.
“I didn’t want to have it in a conventional gallery for the same reason. The container acts as a metaphor for a train, similar to the ones that were pulling into the train station the night the gas leaked,” he adds. The container has also been placed on a slight tilt to throw your sense of balance off.
“I’ve chosen to focus on the actual spaces within which the tragedy occurred, rather than the people,” he explains. “This project has been in the works since 2004, when I went there for the 20th anniversary of the mishap. I’ve spent the past few years going back and forth, trying to document as much as I can."
Jodha hopes that this exhibition will remind people of tragedies that are forgotten if they don’t directly affect our lives.
“The current paranoia is about terrorism because it entered our city and our homes. But those at the bottom of the food chain are always forgotten and marginalised. We don’t know anything of the North East apart from bomb blasts, as if that’s all that happens there. And little is known of the Bhopal tragedy outside of history textbooks,” he insists. “As an artiste, I’m fortunate to show my art and spread a message.”