Journey Back To The Nest – Esther David

(A dialogue between Amit Ambalal and Khanjan Dalal written for an exhibition of Amit Ambalal’s installation organized by Lemongrasshopper Gallery, Ahmedabad)

Khanjan – “kagdana makanma installation kariye to kevu ? ”

(Why don’t we make an installation of your crows in the crow’s building?”

Amitbhai  – ?

K – For the simple reason that Le Corbusier was known as Corbu-the-crow-like-builder and ATMA is his nest. Corbeau in French means crow and Le Corbusier was affectionately known as Corbu.

A – It is the perfect nest for my crows, because, it is all about Corbu and his ATMA

K ­– I see a work of art as an object, and this particular installation is site-specific, in context to your crows.

A –   My crows?

K – Yes, they are fun.  

A – For me a crow is like a metaphor….

K – I suppose there are many reasons why you use crows in your work.

A – Because crows talk to each other and also to us, they have great communication skills; are exhibitionists by nature, have a certain amount of physicality and a fine geometry of form.

K – Crows create many questions, like I often wonder; do crows think and if they do, what do they think about?

A – I like crows because they are very smart; shy, sweet, intelligent, cunning, big bullies; notorious and often ruthless. They are full of contradictions.

K – Actually, we as humans also have a crow within us, but do not like it…

A – Through crows, I try to express my inner experiences, which are often non-specific and difficult to define, but, create feelings of history, religion, personal life, society and politics.

K – A crow has multiple layers and inspires innumerable themes.

A – Interestingly, crows are also symbols of our ancestors.

K – They are full of contradictions.

A – Crows become symbolic of our ancestors when they are offered food during the Shradhpaksha.

K – I was telling you about this crow within, which we prefer to ignore. Instead, we like to pick and choose our identities and insist on saying; I am not a crow, but a koel. All our conflicts and contradictions stems from here, in the same way that we are both good and bad.

A – Sometimes, I wonder whether I am following these crows in their journey towards spirituality, because, they allow me to create so many metaphors of life.

K – For this work, Corbu’s architecture is perfect, almost like his ATMA. They say; he was a crow-like builder, who looked at the world from a bird’s eye view.

A – Perfect. But, I often wonder, why so many people are named after birds, parrots, peacocks, koels, like Popatlal, Mayurbhai, Kokilaben, but have you ever heard of anybody named after a crow like Kakchandra? Never!  
K- This is exactly what I like about crow contradictions. On one hand, it is like an ancestor, while on the other hand, it has a notorious character, which we like and dislike.

A – Actually, it is a tiny bird in context to the vastness of the universe, but has the capacity to control our environment.

K – Because, like us, it is also searching for bigger gains and always waiting for something big to happen in terms of achievement.

Although in this particular work, it is merely an atom, from where all thought germinates.

A – True, it is mere atom; observe how it transforms from micro-crow to tiny bindu…. 

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