Zariyein is a community-based art intervention that uses images and conversations...
Delhi, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand
Wednesday, 6 December 2006
Frame Works Res...

Zariyein is a community-based art intervention that uses images and conversations to explore a diversity of lived experiences. It seeks an interaction between people and their spaces/experiences, where people record impressions of their everyday using the medium of photography and audio recordings. Circulating these images/recordings and having conversations around them amongst the larger public where Zariyein is located, leads to a collective representation of that particular context.

Since 2006, Zariyein has been carried out in three diverse locations – Khirki, an urban village in Delhi; Shillong and villages in the East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya; and in the Tehri Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.

Zariyein, in Urdu, means ‘through’.

Zariyein I

Zariyein I (Nov-Dec 2006) in Khirki, New Delhi used multiple perspectives through photographs to create a layered narrative of personal and local histories that enabled a re-viewing of the space and its existence within the metropolis.

It began by inviting people to record their own impressions of Khirki using photographs. These photographs were then circulated amongst other residents. People looked at photographs, identified familiar faces and landmarks, told stories, laughed and asked questions. Conversations were not restricted to simply what each photograph depicted; rather each image became a point of engagement to discuss something more than what it portrayed. Gradually, through this process, photographs became images of Khirki imbued with distinct sets of meanings. Zariyein in Khirki culminated with a four wall installation using images, texts and sound. The first wall had images taken by the residents as well as us – the facilitators. The second and third wall had select sets of images chosen by other people in Khirki from the original pool of photographs. Extracts from conversations with people were used as texts over the two walls. Audio recordings of the photographers (why they captured a particular image and what it conveyed) and other residents’ reasons behind choosing certain images were played alongside the first and the third wall. The fourth wall was left blank for people to use photographs, write comments, create and express their own visual impressions or experience of life in Khirki. This installation was set up in a public place in Khirki.

Zariyein I was a collaboration between Frame Works and Aastha Chauhan, Khoj Studios

Zariyein II

Zariyein II explored the economic, social & cultural significance of a network of bazaar buses that connect villages in rural Meghalaya with the urban market centre of Shillong, also the capital.  Bazaar buses are the lifeline of these villages and Zariyein involved people associated with the bus (regular passengers, bus staff, people who work in the bus stand in Shillong and inhabitants of some villages in the East Khasi Hills district) to understand what they thought of and felt for their bus. Ten people at various nodes of the bus took photographs of the ways in which they relate to the bus. Photographs and conversations with them referred to various aspects of the bus – about their villages, the journey, happenings on the bus, the city, the market, the importance of the bus in their lives.

A selection of these photographs was assembled in the form of a photo scrap book, a narrative of the journey of the bus from the village to the city and back. The same scrap book in two versions was circulated in some villages in this district and the city of Shillong for four months. People could go through these books, write what they felt or associated with the photographs, draw or add more photographs. Some of these photographs were also taken to six villages on various bus routes in the area.

This public viewing led to many things; comments on each photograph, anecdotes and recollections. Significantly, photographs also became a medium to talk about larger concerns of people living in these areas; concerns of health, livelihood, education and access.

Zariyein III

Zariyein III was undertaken in Tehri Garhwal in collaboration with Henval Vani, a community radio group based in Chamba, near New Tehri town.

Zariyein III tried to explore the idea of what it means when a place ceases to exist. Tehri Town has been submerged by a dam operational since 2006. People affected by the dam have been relocated to New Tehri and in other resettlement colonies around that area. Today traces of the town remain only in people’s personal histories. Zariyein III attempted to document memories and perceptions of people associated with Tehri.

Using photography and sound, members of Henval Vani shared their own experiences and interacted with people from old Tehri town. Members created their individual audio-visual pieces based on a sharing of these experiences and interactions. All the pieces, though distinct, were thematically connected and eventually came together to create Zariyein III – a remembrance of a town through diverse experiences and stories of various people.

Zariyein III was taken around for a larger public viewing and engagement in four places of the Tehri district. While in some places, the work evoked a longing for the past, at others, some felt it was futile to refresh painful memories. Some narrated personal experiences of how they were forcefully moved out of their homes, how little or no compensation had been paid to the poor and uninformed, how they would have protested vehemently against the dam if only they had known the actual truth behind it.

Subsequently, Zariyein was also aired on the local cable network, eliciting responses and written letters from audiences. Some even took copies of Zariyein III- a way of remembering their Tehri.