When a river cries…

An installation art work and performance on river pollution was recently performed by noted artist Debananda Ulup in the Uzanbazar Ferryghat area of the city.

debananda ulup

the play

While the performance was conceptualised and directed by Debananda Ulup himself, a number of artistes from Assam as well as other States participated in the project. While the script was written by Prodyot Pran Saikia, the other participants who supported Ulup were Lalita Umbown, Umakanta Sonowal, Khanin Chaliha, Rimjim Deka, Indrajit Nath and Khirod Neog. Besides Ulup, the participants from Assam were Bhaskar Hazarika, Samiran Deka and Pravin Mech. Artist Dorendra Singh from Manipur, on the other hand, arranged his programme at Manipuri Basti. The participants at the camp hailing from outside the North-east were Prayash Abhinav (Banglaore), Sharmila Samant (Mumbai), Showket Kajoo (Srinagar) and Sambhavi Singh (Patna/New Delhi).

The performance conceived by Ulup was highly interactive in nature with the artist drawing various aspects of the River Brahmaputra to signify the extent of river pollution in our lives. The sole prop was the carcass of fish, while actors in different costumes operating at the behest of a script provided the framework for the entire performance.

Amidst the lined-up canvases containing the fish skeletons, a black-attired man symbolizing ‘pollution’ was shown to be attacking a woman, who represented the ‘River’. Ulup dressed the woman in traditional Singpho attire, making a lot of subtle hints. As he says, “As the Singpho community hailed from the upper reaches of the River Brahmaputra, the traditional garment comprised a subtle reference to the downward flow of the river. Secondly, the ‘River’ (enacted by Lalita Umbown) hummed a poignant tune in the Singpho language at a later stage of the show. This was done by the artist keeping in mind, on one hand, the universality of music, and on the other, the pure effect that a song in an uncommon language might have on the people watching the event.”

All in all, a commendable effort to revive public art in the region.


About Aiyushman Dutta

Who am I? Yet to find the answer. For the time being, u can call me a writer, maybe a journalist and a music entrepreneur or an errand boy! Whatever suits your fancy!

Posted on April 15, 2010, in Concerts/ Reviews, Day-to-Day, Personalities/ Interviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. i have liked the attempt taken in the river cries,its so good to know that a handful is sincere about this issue. Even though i am a lone screamer, my voice dies out in the noise of the world, but this favourite river of mine is really crying.I have written a lot about it in the FB, for which i have been asked to join incredible India by my friends..I am a nature lover for which i am alert to these issues.
    Please inform me, for your next workshop on the river cries, and i will happily join the rest of you.
    I live in Guwahati, Rajgarh rd. All the best.

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