Water creates the flow of our life-stream. Oceans, rivers and lakes have always shaped settlements alongside developing into cities and defining the life of their inhabitants. More than anything else the quality of existence depends on the accessibility to clean drinking water. The way one relates to water will be a decisive factor not only for cities but also for countries and continents in the future.
In this global context, Chennai’s urban water situation has been a main focus since 2015 of the cultural cooperation of the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, the German Cultural Institute, trying to arouse interest and artistically reflect upon future solutions. After the floods the challenges and perspectives are more relevant and clear than ever. On one hand Chennai is a city befriended by nature and steeped in tradition, having a lot of potential to be an attractive “water city” in welcoming visitors world-wide. On the other it could be seen as a paradigm of a fast growing 21st century city moving towards destructing its basis for life: water.
The exhibition Urban Water has been created beginning of 2016 focusing within this context.
In January, 15 up-coming photographers were selected and invited to get on to the other side of the lens and explore from behind the issues and stories surrounding water in Chennai.
Under the guidance and expertise of renowned photographers Munem Wasif (Bangladesh) and Ravi Agarwal (Delhi), they spent days and nights with field work and research on issues concerning water. As a team they created this astonishing collection of photographic work, where each is looking at water-issues from a different perspective in one’s own individual style, artistic approach and innovative means. As one of the core events of the first Chennai Photo Biennale it is exhibited in the Lighthouse MRTS Station as a public space to make it accessible to everyone.
The workshop was conducted at the Goethe-Institut in Chennai in January by the generous sponsorship of Photo Concierge. Photographer and mentor Andreas Deffner (Germany-Pondicherry) has conceptualized and designed this one-of-a-kind exhibition. We venture in presenting the exhibition as a rare visual treat and a mental feast to kindle the response of the audiences of water-city Chennai.
Arun is a photographer based in Chennai, India.My project on industrial water pollution Big industrial building eats up small lands to the competitive fast growing world, which is standing aggressively.
Balaji is a Chennai based self-taught photographer. He works on various social and personal projects. Some of his works have been published with Geographical, Tehelka, Himal South Asian.
Most of my work is based on single images, but somewhere down the line I have found there is a common string attached to all of it. I like documenting my environment and surroundings.