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Book launch “Yamuna Manifesto”

New Delhi, 12 November 2013 : Max Muller Bhavan is organizing the launch of the bilingual book (Hindi and English) titled, “Yamuna Manifesto” edited by Mr. Ravi Agarwal & Till Krause. The book’s content was dedicated to Manoj Kumar Misra’s and Himanshu Thakkar’s far sighted and knowledgeable involvement on the Yamuna, as well as the vision of artists.

On the relevance of the book “Yamuna Manifesto” Mr. Ravi Agarwal explains that it is an outcome of the Project Y – a public art and outreach project initiated by the Ministry of Culture, Hamburg, and carried out in the framework of Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities. Project Y is the Indian initiative of the twin-city Yamuna-Elbe Public Art and Outreach project which was held in Hamburg (October 2011) and Delhi (November 2011).

Mr. Manoj Misra added “It has been a matter of great happiness and satisfaction to be a part of the Yamuna-Elbe project. That it has resulted in this bilingual publication on the river is a welcome bonus.”

The in-depth informative book on the river Yamuna is centered on the idea of creating ecological and sustainable rivers in cities. Those artists who had done work on the Yamuna before, where invited to contribute with their perceptions and visions to the book.

The book “Yamuna Manifesto” narrates the story of river Yamuna emphasizing on the significance of the river on the life of India and its people. However today, greed and callousness have turned a perennial river into a seasonal one.

It is not only a story of the origin and destination of the river, but also about its struggle faced due to man’s onslaught and the apathy of the state. The fascinating book unearths the story of a river, becoming a drain attributing it to the domestic, industrial, agricultural pollution and ground water extraction. Water from the river Yamuna and its tributaries has been diverted for power generation, irrigation and drinking water purposes at various places all along its length.

The river Yamuna which has been polluted severely over the past two decades as a result of intensive urbanization in the 17 million strong capital city, has today become a subject of many debates regarding its pollution and the drive to clean it.

It is our hope that this Manifesto will help create a more discursive space. For a wider dissemination on the issue which is very close to all of us and to cross the language barrier the book has been written in both the languages, Hindi and English says Mr. Agarwal.

The book launch will be on 12th November, 2013 (Today) at 7 pm at Siddharta Hall, Goethe-Institute/ Max Mueller Bhavan.



Ravi Agarwal engages interchangeably as an artist, writer, curator, environmental activist and researcher, with questions relating to urban space, ecology, labour and globalization. His work encompasses photography, video, public art and installations, and he has had an extensive engagement with the river. He has exhibited in several important international shows including Document XI (Kassel 2002), “Horn Please” (Berne 2007), “Indian Highway” (2009 ongoing - London, Oslo, Copenhagen, Lyon, Rome etc.), “Generation in Transition,” Warsaw (2011), 4th Foto Festival, “The Eye is a lonely hunter” (Manheim, Ludwigshafen, Heidelberg (2011), the Newark Museum – “Public Places, Private Spaces” (2008) the Fotographie Forum Frankfurt’s “Watching me – Watching India: New Photography from India (2006) etc. and held many solo shows. He writes extensively on ecological issues, and is also founding director of Toxics Link, a leading environmental Indian NGO.

He is the co-curator of the twin-city Yamuna-Elbe Public Art Project, 2011. He is an engineer by training and works and lives in New Delhi.

Atul Bhalla has explored the physical, historical, spiritual, and political significance of water to the urban environment and population of his city (New Delhi) through artworks that incorporate sculpture, painting, installation, video, photography, and performance. Bhalla is particularly concerned about the relationship between the Yamuna and urban communities. The Yamuna is one of the largest tributaries of the Ganges River and tens of millions of people depend on its water for irrigation, and municipal/domestic use. Venerated in Hindu mythology as the goddess of life, it is also one of the most polluted rivers in the world. With a focus on pollution and scarcity of water, Yamuna Walk traces the artist’s five-day walk around the portion of the river that encircles New Delhi. At times through this journey Bhalla was forced to climb fences and cross concrete overpasses to continue his quest. These modern obstacles weave their way into the fabric of rural life — connecting and hampering its development as well as continuation.

Atul Bhallearned his BFA from Delhi University and his MFA from the School of Art of Northern Illinois University. His work has been in several museum exhibitions, most notably in The Newark Museum’s “INDIA: Public Places, Private Spaces” and the Fotographie Forum Frankfurt’s “Watching me – Watching India: New Photography from India”, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum Triennial, the Devi Art Foundation, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and recently at the Centre Pompidou Paris.

Sheba Chhachhi Works with lens based images, both still and moving, investigating questions of gender, ecology, violence and visual culture. Her works address the question of transformation, personal and collective memory, retrieving the marginal, and the play between the mythic and social. A long time chronicler of the women’s movement in India, as both photographer and activist, she began developing collaborative, staged photographic portraits with her subjects in the early 90’s, moving on to photo based installations. Chhachhi places the photographic image in space with video, sound, light, objects, text. She has developed a new artistic language, that of the moving image light box, which uses a series of still and moving layers of photographic images to almost cinematic effect. Public art interventions are an important part of Chhachhi’s practice. She has exhibited widely, in India and internationally.

Till Krause, works together with the Hamburg (Germany) based artist’s space GFLK - Galerie für Landschaftskunst / GFLK-Surveys on artistic ideas about space, landscape, city and nature (www.gflk.de). Did several Landscape projects like “Cell Phone Survey Africa”, “Lower Saxony”, “Germany-trips”, “www.illegalevecht.org”, “Land for 5 final actions”. He is the co-curator of the twin-city Yamuna-Elbe Public Art Project, 2011.

Manoj Misra, born 1954. Masters in Mathematics, Forestry and Wildlife Management. Served in the Indian Forest Service, IFS in various places and capacities in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra and in the WWF-India for 22 years before taking voluntary retirement in 2001 from the post of Chief Conservator of Forests. Associated with PEACE Institute Charitable Trust (www.peaceinst.org) in Delhi since 2003 and is the Convener of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan (yamunajiyeabhiyaan.blogspot.com) since 2007. Can be contacted at manojmisra@peaceinst.org and yamunajiye@gmail.com

Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi, Shuddhabrata Sengupta) have been variously described as artists, curators, editors, and catalysts of cultural processes. Their work, which has been exhibited widely in major international spaces and events, locates them along the intersections of contemporary art, historical inquiry, philosophical speculation, research and theory — often taking the form of installations, online and offline media objects, performances and encounters. They live and work in Delhi, partly based at Sarai, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, an initiative they co-founded in 2000. They are members of the editorial collective of the Sarai Reader series, and have curated “The Rest of Now” and co-curated “Scenarios” for Manifesta 7.

Vivan Sundaram, born 1943, Simla. He studied painting in M.S. University, Baroda and The Slade School of Fine Art, London in the 1960’s. Since 1990 he has turned to making artworks as sculpture, installation, photography and video. He has exhibited in the Biennials of Sydney (2008), Seville (2006), Taipei (2006), Sharjah (2005), Shanghai (2004), Havana (1997), Johannesburg, (1997), Kwangju (1997), Asia-Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, (1996). He has participated in group shows in London (Tate Modern, 2001), New York (International Centre for Photography, 2008), Tokyo (Mori Museum, 2008), Munich (Haus der Kunst, 2006), Vienna (Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation, 2006), Berne (Kunst Museum, 2007), Berlin (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2003), Rotterdam (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 2001). Vivan Sundaram lives in Delhi and is married to the art writer Geeta Kapur.

Himanshu Thakkar, an engineer from Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai), is currently Coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People and editor of magazine “Dams, Rivers & People”. He has been working on water related issues in India for over two decades and has previously been associated with the work of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the World Commission on Dams and the Centre for Science and Environment.”

For more information please feel free to contact: Rambha Tripathy ,Ph :011-24328006


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