In Reena Kallat’s work over the last several years the border, the territory and the map have recurred as potent forms that point to broad historical narratives as well as the manner in which humankind have left the imprint of history on geography. Her recent works titled River Drawings point to the absurdity of national efforts to discipline and claim ever-moving bodies of water by reshaping the landscape. The artist began by tracing the borders between countries that are in conflict over the sharing of their common river waters.
“Rivers don’t recognize political demarcations whether it’s the river Imjin that flows between North and South Korea, the Danube between Serbia and Croatia, the Colorado and Rio Grande between USA and Mexico, the Indus between India and Pakistan or Shatt-Al-Arab between Iran and Iraq. Many trans-boundary agreements are in dispute over who controls access to the shared waters, with the course of the river itself manipulated and changed through dams or other hydro-electric projects. While I was rearranging these lines of separation and playfully reconstituting them, they collectively seemed to transform, carving a new topography with a flowing river forming the landscape.”