Earlier this year, during the first semester, we began a fieldwork project cleaning out brick-lined pits behind all the hostels. These pits were fascinating and gave all of us students and teachers a sense of how little we value our stuff. We found everything: letters written by parents, jewellery, Birkenstocks, a sitar, pills still in their packaging and not yet expired, credit cards (not cut up and also not expired!), nail polish, art supplies. You name it, we found it. Clearly, going through garbage gives someone an anthropological view of the society that creates the trash.
Pankti, pictured above, was the queen of finding all things interesting and valuable. We began collecting these items and she decided to create a tree that gives people a sense of what we throw away.
She began sketching her design over the course of the first term. And over the past few months she began working on it in earnest. She finished the morning she left school (she graduated and is headed to art school next year). It’s a wonderful art installation as well as study of what Rishi Valley people no longer find use or value in. The piece isn’t in place yet; we’ll put it up when school begins in the fall in a prominent place. But for now here are the photos of her process and the final product. Enjoy!