Water Has Memory: Meera Devidayal
My attempt has always been to turn the ‘found image’ into a visual metaphor, and charge it with new meaning. In this collection the trigger was — an office building surrounded by office buildings; the sea somewhere round the corner, unseen, suddenly appearing as a reflection in a window. As if asserting its presence (quietly) to those who had displaced it by a concrete jungle.
The sea is the protagonist of my exhibition. It has its own mind, its own voice, and its own memory. Man has treated it as an element to bend to his own needs, and indeed, his own greed, by chipping away the ocean to gouge out more and more land to build on; he has turned it into a dumping ground for his garbage. He thinks he is in control. But the planet has been striking back in its own way. Hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, and droughts are very much the result of man’s insensitivity to the planet.
Using this broad framework as my canvas, I have used video, photographs, paintings and texts, to tell my story. The grey area between appearance and reality in the human situation, has been central to my work. Here the sea becomes the metaphor for this exploration. The images are from my experience of life around me, as well as from happenings across the world.
In Mumbai, where I live, life seems to revolve around construction and acquisition. Bigger and bigger, more and more, it seems to be an endless chase in the pursuit of happiness. Or is it just a mirage?
This chase also leads me to view the sea as ‘passage’ – the idea that it has historically been the medium through which people travel and migrate to better spaces. Where will the sea now lead us? Will it be merciful, or cruel, in its infinite wisdom?