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WHEN YOU first see a large cluster of earthen lamps spread around, you wonder whether the remnants of Diwali have not been cleared yet. And that's when you have to step back and take a look at the whole picture.

The cascade of lamps and chillum s are a metaphor for Ganga river, flowing from its source, Gangotri.

This public installation, Excavations in Hymns of Clay', at India Habitat Centre is the work of Delhibased artist Manav Gupta, who wants to bring forth consciousness on sustainability, while non- intrusively transforming an architectural space in the heart of the city. Using the earthen lamp as an allegory of Mother Earth, the artist hopes to nudge us to act on river pollution.

wanted to use a language that is quintessentially Indian. These earthen lamps lie around and when use them as a conduit for our prayers, we revere them, but not before that or after that. We pray at the footsteps of Ganga and then when we turn away, we don't care," says Gupta, while adding that India in the past had a rich repertoire of natural living and sustainability, which is being consigned to oblivion.

Driving home the point about the environment and necessity for our living is not new to Gupta, whose oeuvre includes paintings rainforests and conceptual art. For the artist, public art is important because interacts with the viewer.

The audience should be a part of the work as without such interactions, there won't be an understanding the medium," says Gupta.

To weave in the concept of time beside his " rippling river and waterfall", Gupta uses an hour glass made of kulhads -- titled Time Machine. Adding drama to creation is the play light at night.

' Excavations in Hymns of Clay' is installed on the Plaza steps of India Habitat Centre, until April 20 Through his work, Manav Gupta hopes to nudge us to on river pollution.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Feb 13, 2015
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