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Sleeping in the Bed of Salt: Ishita Chakraborty

August 26-September 30, 2023

Gallery Espace 16, Community Centre, New Friends Colony, New Delhi, Delhi, India

Gallery Espace presents Sleeping in the Bed of Salt, Ishita Chakraborty’s debut solo exhibition with the Gallery. The exhibition will feature a body of recent works in various mediums – cyanotype and archival pigment prints, video, textiles, drawing, and poetry – that were made in or evolved from the artist’s month-long stay in Satjelia, a small, remote island in the Sundarban Mangrove Forests. The Sunderbans, which lies on the delta/estuaries of the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Meghna and other rivers between India and Bangladesh, is a unique ecosystem with a rich diversity of aquatic and terrestrial flora and fauna – the mangrove and the Bengal tiger being the most iconic – which is increasingly under threat from anthropogenic change.

It is the ecological crisis in the Sundarbans, its humanitarian fallout and cultural specificities that the artist explores in this exhibition. The title, for instance, is a line from a poem by her in which she imagines the mangroves, the soil and everything and everyone in the landscape to ‘lie in a bed of salt’. The reference is to the increased salinity of the Sundarbans waters caused by the construction of barrages on the rivers and rising sea levels, which is causing some mangrove species to disappear or ‘migrate’ upstream, affecting the livelihoods and health of its inhabitants and causing frequent, severe storms as far upstream as Kolkata.

Find out more about the show here.