Atul Bhalla: Finding hue in troubled waters

By Vandana Kalra | The Indian Express

Two rivers, two cities, miles apart — the Elbe in Germany and Yamuna in Delhi are lifelines of the surrounding habitat, but that is where the apparent commonality ends. Not for Atul Bhalla though. The Delhi-based artist believes that concerns around water are universal. “It is the most essential element that we are all going to fight for in the near future,” says Bhalla. Among his work being showcased at Vadehra Art Gallery, in the exhibition “Ya Ki Kuchh Aur!” he has photographs from the Yamuna-Elbe project in Hamburg in 2011. The 40-year-old placed 12 banners on the course of the Elbe, each with a question the river was posing to people — a concept borrowed from an episode in the Mahabharata where Yudhisthir answered 54 questions that came from the river before he could drink water from it. “Why do you think questions should come from a body of water? It’s because knowledge is within the waters. The saying is that you never step into the same river, but I believe that you always step into the same river’” says Bhalla.

17 November 2014