THINGS SEEN FROM ABOVE

THINGS SEEN

FROM ABOVE

2020 | Collages + Texts


This series is based on my rooftop

walk observations during lockdown in India. 


Mixed media on paper

No. 01

SUN | SET

I had not planned to stay in India during summer, dreading the intense heat, but this is where I am during lockdown. Every day around 19:00, my son and I go to the roof terrace of our apartment building. The sun is about to set and the temperature becomes somewhat bearable again. We have an hour before it becomes too dark to play. 


Precious time.

 

A sense of relief is in the air,

 

and the peacocks start their evening call.

 

True or not, I like the old belief that it is a sign for rain.

No. 02

PEACOCK | RAIN

And finally it rained, big drops of ‘peacock rain’.

 

It was loud and magical.

 

The dust went, the sky cleared.

 

The land turned greener than green

and the peacocks danced.

No. 03

[OUT OF] VIEW

I have become strangely attached to the view from my rooftop.

 

Farm fields, forest and the distant Sabarmati river extend to the horizon on one side; the ever- expanding, high-rise, concrete jungle creeps up from the other and in between lie open dusty spaces, modernist bungalows, run-down farm houses, circular water towers and empty plots.

 

And while the real estate developer [out of view] sells dreams in his fancy portable cabin office situated at the beginning of a large ‘soon-to-be-developed’ land that once belonged to a farmer, the monkeys chase each other in the remaining trees.

No. 04 [collages 01-07]

White Walls 01
White Walls 02
White Walls 03
White Walls 04
White Walls 05
White Walls 06
White Walls 07

WHITE WALLS

Down the road from my apartment building are modernist bungalows with round openings in thick, whitewashed walls and closed south-facing facades. The lack of ornamentation and simplicity of form appeals to me.

 

These minimalist outsides however, are seemingly at odds with many Indian interiors that I have seen – often colourful and elaborately decorated with a love for gold and all that shimmers and shines.

 

Here, opposites happily coexist.

No. 05

OUTSIDE [INSIDE]

OUTSIDE

The vast building construction site is glowing in the dark. The building is lit from above and from within. The bare concrete space seems deserted from a distance and the light allows me to see through the distinguishable criss-cross bamboo scaffolding, through the structural framework: from outside to inside to outside.

 

I recall a building site in Delhi, years ago.

 

In the harsh surrounding, I saw rows of drying clothes, makeshift curtains, shelters and beds, pots and pans and little cooking fires.

 

Children sleeping, men resting and women preparing food.

 

The human strive to make an uninhabitable space habitable,

 

to dream, whilst building someone else’s dream,

 

leaves me in two minds.