Climate change is not just about rising oceanic temperatures and melting icebergs. “It is a lot more complex than that,” says Chennai-based artist and cultural producer Krishnapriya CP. She talks about a certain “precarity” that exists in the lives of the most affected: people in rural India. “And yet, they find ways to survive,” she says. Krishnapriya has curated the exhibition Bhin Bhini: Changing Climate, Uncertain Livelihoods, with selected works from People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), a ‘living journal’ and archive of stories on the everyday lives of people from rural India.
There will be large-format photos, reading material, and videos on display as part of the exhibition, that Krishnapriya says will focus on not just the larger issue of climate change, but the resilience vulnerable people display in its face. “This will be a very visual exhibition,” says Krishnapriya, “PARI has been telling extensive stories on climate change through text, audio and the visual format; but our narrative will use large scale prints from the archive.”
There will also be videos and handmade photo books on display. She has also collaborated with Marudham Farm School, an alternative school in Tiruvannamalai and Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA), a Delhi-based non-profit for the two-month long event.
“Teachers and environment educators at Marudham have put together a curriculum on climate change, which we hope to teach school children and young adults who walk in,” she explains, adding that on Saturdays, classroom sessions on the topic will be held by staff from Marudham. “Children form our core audience since they are most likely to be most affected by climate change, and hence need to be aware of its impacts.”
FICA, that encourages young artists through grants, curated a show titled Agri Forum featuring art work on agriculture during the pandemic. “We have set up a reading room with a series of texts from the show,” says Krishnapriya.
The exhibition is a coming together of art, education, and expression, all of which, Krishnapriya says, are deeply interconnected. “The idea is very close to me, since I have been following the subject from my days as an environment science student at school.”
The term ‘Bhin bhini’, meaning numerous, is a name for an invasive species of pests that destroy crops. It is an identification by the Mawasi community in Madhya Pradesh, and is from a PARI article that talks about insects across India displaying unpredictable behavior due to climate change.
The exhibition is on from September 1 to October 29, 10am to 6pm at Varija Art Gallery, DakshinaChitra, Muttukadu.