Aakriti Chandervanshi, India
Amidst the Garden of Eden lies empty elysian fields, still spaces, and the silence that echoes in them. Located in the southern outskirt of the Kathmandu Valley are the twin villages, Khokana and Bungamati. They encompass an archeological site, Ku Dey, stretching out to the very edge of the valley’s foothills. As the fog rises from the landscape, one begins to notice the signs of intervention and degradation it is tempered with. A place that once held beauty untouched, has now become a symbol surrounded on the notion of development. The umbrella of tradition under which the locals come together and worship the sacred land, now find themselves uniting to save the last vestiges of their heritage against the ongoing construction of the fast track from Kathmandu to Tarai.
After Eden is a body of work which talks about the lives of the indigenous communities in Khokana and Bungamati being affected on the grounds of beliefs, identity and economy due to the ongoing state initiated project of 78 kms long stretch of fast-track under construction leading to migration, pollution and loss of ecology. Through the series of physical traces rupturing the organic terrain are questions raised upon the need for this emerging fast track as it slices through these vast scapes.
An avid photographer, Aakriti credits her nomadic childhood for her interest in photography, documentation and observation. As an architectural graduate, she chose to utilize her years of obsessing over details of facades and juxtapose with her photographic journey. She was recently selected for International Photography Programme of Pathshala South Asian Median Institute, Dhaka, where she explored the theme of physical and emotional connection to places of socio-cultural importance and continues to work towards projects with heritage and conservation as underlying motivating themes. She has been advocating Bombay’s Art Deco since 2015, conducting heritage walks which piques the interest of historians, photographers and visitors alike. She is devoted to her work and pets, perhaps not as equally as she would like.