K R Sunil, artist and photographer from Kerala India, won the Delhi Habitat Centre award for his photo series, ‘Chronicles of Disappearance’ which focuses on the vanishing ponds of Kodungaloor. His work is showing at RMIT Gallery as part of the water+wisdom Australia India exhibition until 10 March.
Ponds are the eyes and souls of villages in Kerala. Every village pond has many memories and narratives surrounding it, that of people whose lives are closely intertwined with it.
“The ponds gave us the water we required, for drinking, bathing and agriculture and we took care of them with the same intensity,” said Sunil.
Once a symbol of life, water bodies in Kerala are now fast turning into the graveyards. Some are reclaimed due to non-availability of land for housing and industrial, while others became the dumping grounds for urban waste. Due to neglect from civic authorities, household waste and sewage water amalgamate into huge piles of garbage.
Collectives and community groups from local women and environmental groups to swimmers’ clubs have emerged alongside the dying water bodies with the purpose to conserve the ponds, as well as maintain the relationships and stories attached to them for future generations.
Read more about Sunil’s work ‘Chronicles of Disappearance’ in this article in The New Indian Express.