For this series of photographs, Atul Bhalla follows the Yamuna River into Delhi. Drinking fountains, or piaus, were a free public resource that once channeled clean water from the river to all inhabitants of the city. Such fountains can still be found mainly in the lower-income and communal spaces of Old Delhi. Piaus I focuses on the spigots that now draw from the severely polluted river, which has been compromised by years of sewage and chemical contamination. Vivid colors and patterned surfaces throw into relief the grimy, deteriorated condition of the fountains. Arranged in a large grid of twenty images, Bhalla’s work suggests widespread socioeconomic inequalities precipitated by both neglected infrastructure and the defilement of nature.
Atul Bhalla (b. 1964, India)
Inkjet prints on archival Hahnemüle paper
Gift of Drs. Umesh and Sunanda Gaur, Courtesy of the Artist and sepiaEYE