Tahireh Lal, Recipient of Inlaks Foundation 2016 was in residence at the WAA studios for the month of April.
Tahireh is an Indian artist and her practice is primarily self-reflexive. Her work deals with ideas of movement and stasis that stem from her mobile existence. Her ideas find expression in the form of video, installation and sculpture. Her artwork has featured at film festivals and in galleries both in India and at international events such as the Videonale in Bonne, Germany, and Nuit Blanche in Toronto, Canada. Her artwork develops in response to her immediate environment. Her work explores tensions between the familiar and unfamiliar as well as movement between these dispositions. Also, she is interested in how people can be simultaneously moving and grounded. She renders these ideas through various material experiments that have their own place and time stamp.
During her time at the residency Tahireh spent her time unpacking her current body of work titled, ‘Eastern lights.’ This is a study on both natural and artificial light in the region of Assam where she lives.
“I live in an agricultural village called Silghat. Travelling to and from Silghat and urban centers has made me observe the way the landscape in between changes through time and across seasons. The effect that sunlight duration and intensity has on life is visible at a large scale in the growth cycle of plants in fields and forests. This makes me think of hm, which is the unit of light required to catalyze photosynthesis in plants, converting sugar to adenosine triphosphate or energy. This reaction is the reason plants grow and also how we have life on earth. At night this activity stops, the landscape fades to black and illumination along the highway takes center stage – headlights of vehicles, streetlights, dhaba lights and reflectors. It is interesting to note our dependence on these lights as guides that help navigate the way home, a skill once dependent on reading the moon and stars. On the village dirt tracks, with only one set of headlights, the moon, stars and fireflies seem to come out of hiding. Their night- time bioluminescence appears to be the opposite of man made illumination, indicating the activity that nature is constantly about”.