By Amol Patil
Amol’s last work What is Human Becomes Animal
has dealt with situations faced by sanitary workers in Bombay, their working conditions and caste discrimination, that persists even today. With extreme working conditions, they often succumb to disease and alcohol abuse, necessary to overcome the smells and degradation endured daily. Through discrimination and inequality, what is labour?
In Gaze Under your Skin
, exhibited at Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi, Amol goes from the micro to the macro, looking at the humblest forms of labour.
Urban structures and spaces that are rapidly changing and growing are juxtaposed with the enduring condition of the labourers that build them.
The essential daily gestures of cleaning, fixing broken walls and the reactions they have on the body and skin are recreated through kinetic movements on surfaces. These objects that have been created reflect those reactions on the skin and body. Layered black water with small bubbles refer to the contamination of the water and in turn, how this water affects the skin. The action of breathing is present in these vibrating kinetic movements.
Many sanitation workers who live in housing societies also participate in theatre, where they have a platform to perform. The surfaces they create are like stages and additionally, resemble the cube-like space of houses. Through the visuals of broken lands and shifting spaces, Gaze Under your Skin
depicts the survival of labourers, their everyday routines, struggles and healing processes. A tribute to the unnamed heroes of the ever-growing megalopolis, questioning the aftermath of centralised urbanisation.