Aarey’s sights, sounds put on a show at south Bombay
The impending destruction of the Aarey colony, one of Mumbai’s largest green patches, and its displacement of its tribal settlers has found an outpouring of protest among Mumbaikars from all walks of life. Now, the art world is joining in, with Before, a one-day video installation by Italian artist Valentina Furian at the Method Art Gallery in Kala Ghoda.
Furian will showcase multiple recordings compiled from a single spot in the Aarey forest over the first week of her two-week residency in the city. She will also showcase a life-size photo featuring a diorama of an Indian forest which is housed at the Natural History Museum in Milan.
“The Aarey forest is a strange place where you are stuck between wilderness and domestication,” says Furian, 29, who is working with city-based art collective ArtOxygen. “Where the village is, you can hear the sound of the city from far away, but with your eyes, you just see the shadow of forest all around you. I have tried to put together material to tell the stories about my experience and observations there.”
Furian’s other work revolves around the relationship between man and nature, reconstruction and reality, domestication and wilderness. Aarey’s fickle existence, she believes, especially represents this duality. “The forest has a short life left,” she says. “So I feel lucky to have had this opportunity.”
In the second week of her residency, Furian will work with the tribal families settled Aarey, to unveil the image of the diorama, in the middle of the actual forest.
“It’s a 3D image of a forest, inside a forest, whose purpose is to confuse what’s real and imagined,” says Claudio Maffioletti, co-founder of ArtOxygen. “Valentina’s idea of taking a re-constructed representation of the forest, and opening it up inside a real one is a way to reflect on the natural environment.”