Photos: Vicky Roy

Text: Ram Rahman, curator of the show

These photographs by Vicky Roy are from This Scarred Land: New Mountainscapes, an ongoing exhibition at Vadehra Art Gallery. Made entirely in Himachal Pradesh, they are remarkable documents of the hand of man on what was “Dev Bhumi”—a sacred land of the divine. Instead, we are presented with a vision of a scarred land, where man and machine are gouging the earth on a tremendous scale. These are no landscapes of Nainsukh or Roerich—vistas of romance or mystical power. These are seen through the eyes of a cool modernist using the tool of the still camera.

 Capturing the rush to development, Vicky sees the torment of the majestic mountains, rocks, rivers and valleys, as they are being gradually damaged by diesel-spewing machines. From a distance, we are like lines of ants crossing the forest floor. The Himalayas were most memorably photographed by Samuel Bourne in the 19th Century. These photographs are updates on those pristine vistas. The unshackled results of the power of technology which is denuding the forests and pastures have been framed with a modernist gaze —sharp, unsentimental, and with their own terrifying beauty. These are the harbingers of the Kedarnath deluge. These truly are the landscapes of contemporary India.

The show is on view till 30 December at D-53, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi



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