(Born in 1983. Bangladesh)
Seeds Shall Set Us Free II, 2019
In the context of the fraught history of rice cultivation and distribution in Bengal, the work juxtaposes cyanotypes of rice grains and plants with archive documents and photographs from one of the largest community grain banks in the country. In Bengal rice production was curtailed by indigo and jute cultivation imposed for the world market by the British colonial system. The 1944 famine under the British regime resulted in countless deaths as food grains were hoarded by the rulers.
For this work the artist collaborated with the research-based organization UBINIG, founded by a group of activists in 1984 to support the new Naya Krishi Andolan agricultural movement, which currently includes more than 100,000 farming families. This movement promotes local, non-chemical agriculture and indigenous agricultural knowledge to protect biodiversity and workers’ well-being. The work invites us to think about these spaces that feed us while we don’t live in them.
This work was originally commissioned for “Cosmopolis #2: rethinking the human” Courtesy of the Artist and Project 88, Mumbai