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A thought for water

KOCHI: Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.
The words of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ penned during 1797–98 ring in our ears as we walk by each work in ‘Thought after Drought’, an exhibition of paintings and installations by A A Ajithkumar.

It is certainly an eye opener trying to say it’s time to put an end to exploitation of water resources and to conserve water. Even intermittent bouts of drought have never taught us to harvest water for future. Today water bodies are getting smaller in size and fast disappearing, posing danger to the earth and its inhabitants.

Crows and pots are the leitmotifs Ajith uses to convey his concern for this miraculous substance. Based on the parable ‘Thirsty Crow’ in which the crow quenches its thirst by its clever act and flies away, Ajith has conceived some frames which say that no clever deed can quench our thirst once drought sets in. The crows stand for humankind and animals. “In some places rain water harvesting is done on a large scale. But the majority take water for granted.

They use tap water even to water indoor and outdoor plants. It is sad to see the number of borewells increasing,” he says. The forms of crows and pots in different sizes and number and crows besides them in acrylic and pen are thought-provoking. The dangers of mindless exploitation of nature loom large.
In one frame you can see a crow trying to reach the bottom of the pot carved in the ground near which stands an empty pot. In each and every frame, a crow craves a drop of water but in vain. Ajith deftly sculpts a pot on the palm of a hand, often cupped to drink a handful of water, in another frame but alas! there’s not a drop of water anywhere.

Some of the frames talk of drought in rural spots while the rest speak of cities baking in drought. Crows sit around the twisting and turning pipes the taps of which cannot let open a flow of water. They send a dry feel like the dry jack leaves folded into spoonlike forms attached to black strings that come out of layered pots that resemble rings of wells. Another installation has a crow looking hopefully at a pot from which many tubes emerge around which dry jack leaves tell a sorry tale. This same concept takes form on a canvas too.

On another frame Ajith takes you to the parched bottom of a well - the crow perching on it, the bucket and string used for drawing water and the pot looking sunburnt.

Ajith is also a graphic designer.
This is his first exhibition for which he has been working for the past two years.
The exhibition will end today.

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