Will respond to
Sethu &
Ram &
Raman &
Senior Artist in Residence,
Fabrica Research Centre,
Treviso, Italy

Senior Artist
in Residence at
Fabrica Research Centre

21 Bracken Ferns (Working title)

Concept note: During the summer of 2023, I had an opportunity to visit different parts of Europe, since I was in Italy for my year-long artist residency. During this small tour of Europe, I had made a visit to Berlin. Right outside of Berlin is a concentration camp that held prisoners during World War 2, built by the Nazis. I often take photos extensively throughout my trips, and my camera roll is a testament to that. As one can imagine, the visit to the camp was deeply moving, albeit in disturbing ways. But when I came back from the almost trance-like visit, I was surprised to see my camera roll with only three images.

These three images were of the flora around the camp. The tall grass growing near the prisoner quarters, and the towering trees that grew around just in the background. Somehow, in this space with so many dilapidated buildings and post-war monuments to the dead, the only monuments I could focus on were the plants. The plants that grew from the very soil that witnessed some of the darkest periods in human history. This set me on a path of research about how I felt about these all-seeing, omnipresent peers, these silent witnesses to history. Something about these plants and trees felt eerily unsettling, almost as if they were judgemental eyes who would have a lot to say about humans and humanity. Something about their nonchalance to how we waged wars, murdered in industrial scales and stained the soil with blood. The blood that brought humans pain, anger, fear and revolutions, were inconsequential to the roots that soaked in this blood.

>> Concept presentation made to fellow residents and program director Carlos Casas on 17th November, 2024

I’d like to think my work anchors itself on this border, of humans and flora. Specifically between human suffering and flora. Imagining parallel realities where these flora would be allowed to discuss humans and humanity. The flora that have witnessed the camps, but also the flora that now witnesses Kharkiv and Gaza, the flora that witnessed Jallianwala Bagh and Manipur now.

In my final piece, I want to place these flora in an arrangement that aims to invoke one of the most important human rooms in the world, the United National Security Council, where the big decisions about conflict, and rights and wrongs are decided. The flora I picked is a type of fern; ferns being one of the most abundant flora families across the world, that is present in every continent on earth except the poles. In my installation, these ferns participate in re-enactments of two very recent UNSC meetings, meeting 9421 on Ukraine, and meeting 9439 on the Palestinian question.

The work is currently taking shape in Fabrica Research Centre, Treviso, Italy. It will be shown at the semester-end exhibition titled ‘Blooming in Embers’ that will take place on the 16th of February, 2024 at the same venue.

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