Exhibition in New York exposes one of the world’s most contaminated rivers

Artist Vibha Galhotra's ABSUR-CITY-PITY-DITY explores the impact of toxic pollution in India’s Yamuna River.

Indian artist Vibha Galhotra’s visual artwork is a response to the impact of climate change in New Delhi. The capital city of India ranks highest in the world for air pollution and Galhotra’s most recent exhibition, ABSUR-CITY-PITY-DITY focuses on the Yamuna river, which is used as a sewage dump for 58 per cent of the city’s waste.

ABSUR-CITY-PITY-DITY is Galhotra’s second solo exhibition at the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. The exhibition creates a conversation around the contaminated sacred river through candid and poignant individual works. The artworks and the messages they convey are personal for the artist who uses pollution, dirt and sewage as material in the collection.

“Sediment” is a series Galhotra created using blackened river sediment to paint abstract artworks on canvas.

In “365 Days”, bottles of polluted water, which Galhotra collected from the Yamuna River over the course of a year, are accompanied by the individual stories of locals and their daily interactions and relationships with the river. The piece exposes the effects of urbanisation and cultural denial on the natural environment.
“Flow” is a piece made from ghungroos (Indian bell-like jewellery), fabric and polyurethane to create the impression of sewage creeping through the corner of the gallery.
Another piece made using ghungroos is “Majnu Ka Tila” – a tapestry that depicts a muddy city sprawl emerging from the shores of the Yamuna.