Arts Illustrated - April - May 2019
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After the rains, that unmistakable smell of wet earth – mann vasanai, as we say in Tamil – is like an old, weathered hand reaching out from the depths of the earth to meet us. In that gesture of reaching up, it carries with it a deep-rooted sense of knowing. We see that gesture in a young sapling or an ancient tree, and are reminded, time and again, that it is the soil beneath our feet that makes us stand tall. And, so, our theme this issue is simply that – Soil – with all the images, metaphors and symbolism it carries: the politics of caste, identity and belonging; the artfulness (and earthworm-y quality) of constant restructuring and relevance; the power and influence of privilege and perceived dominance; and even those sensory filaments of memory and nostalgia unconsciously (and consciously) conditioned with dollops of prejudice.
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