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45 x 25.5 x 12"depth;
40 x 19 x 9"depth;
36 x 15.5 x 7.5"depth;
17.75 x 10.5 x 5.25"depth
The artist, Valay Gada, has returned to his birthplace for the inspiration behind his latest series of sculptures, “Submerged Suburbias”. Born in Mumbai, Valay is extremely conscious of the impact of urbanisation, population explosion and shrinking green spaces, due to habitat destruction and economic migration. His work from the outset has been driven by concerns for the environment due to pollution and climate change and a heightened artistic appreciation of nature.
This series of works, entitled “Submerged Suburbias”represent the aerial view of high-rise cities that, like Mumbai, glitter against the night sky. They personify humans as ants incessantly digging and excavating habitats from natural resources. The termite tunnels are the roadways, sewers and metro lines criss-crossing the urban landscape. Mumbai is built on a series of seven islands and swamp lands on a narrow peninsular that makes it particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels due to global warming. Marginalised communities seek out an existence on the shores in a city of vast contrasts that has one of the highest concentrations of private wealth and the biggest slum in the world.
“Submerged Suburbias” illustrates the interconnectivity of both cities and the planet. Shrinking pockets of green spaces, that are the lungs of a city, have been decimated by illegal encroachment and neglect. Valay also draws inspiration from his Jain religion that preaches to do no harm. Ahimsa, is the respect for all living things, according to Hinduism and Jainism. Valay scales up botanical forms as sculptures to create striking images to focus the observer’s eye on the importance of the natural world both in climate regulation and medicine, as opposed to just it's surface beauty. Every action has the potential to cause suffering to another in the butterfly effect, where localized change in a complex system can have far reaching impacts elsewhere. The sculptures emphasise the interconnectivity of all living things. Whilst gain will inevitably lead to loss, the key is to minimise suffering, consume less and consume ethically and sustainably.
“Submerged Suburbias” are a series of sculptures, although inspired by Mumbai, are every city, from Rio, Colombo, and LA to Sidney, that face out to sea and an incoming rising tide. Global warming is an urgent crisis that effects all of humanity and India will be key in addressing issues of pollution, population, and fossil fuel consumption. Mumbai may be an urban ant hill, but like the industrious ants who aerate and clean the nest, smart clean cities can live in harmony with the planet.