Ok was born in Korea and trained as a textile designer, worked as a fashion designer, specializing in textile and colour with various companies and clients until 2008.
Relocating to Auroville, India she started what has become her life project: Upcycling. Her brainchild, Ok Upcycling Collection, focuses on the design and production of innovative bags composed of discarded cassette and video tapes. Her first exhibition of the collection was shown in 2012.
Currently she is creating Upcycling Art from a variety of waste products. In June 2015, she opened Up cycling Studio in Auroville with partner, Marc.
“Cascade” is her Upcycling exhibition for PondyPHOTO 2016, inspired on water life.
Ravi Agarwal is an artist, environmental activist, writer and curator. His current interest span questions around ecology and society, urban space and capital in interrelated ways. He works with photographs, video, on-site installations and public art. His work has been shown very widely internationally, including at Documenta XI, the Sharjah Biennial (2013), and Indian Highway (2009). He co-curated the Yamuna-Elbe, Indo German twin city public art and ecology twin city project in 2011. He has been appointed co-curator of the Indo-German public art event to be held in Chennai, India by the Goethe Institute, in January 2017. He has published several artist’s diaries, and books.
Ravi is also the founder of the Indian environmental NGO Toxics Link which has pioneered work on waste and chemicals, and campaigns on conserving urban rivers and the forest. He serves on several high level government policy and standards committees, and writes extensively on sustainability issues in journals and books. He was awarded the UN Special Recognition Award for Chemical Safety (2008) and the Ashoka Fellowship (1997). He works and lives in New Delhi and is an engineer by training.
Evening has come
“Evening has come, soon darkness too will close in” are lines from an ancient Tamil Sangam Akam poem, referring to the landscape of Neithal (the sea) and its representation of the endless waiting for one’s beloved to return home from it. This very early (300 BC to 200 AD) era love verse, could almost be prophetic for the small fishermen who live off the eastern coast.
This body of work, is inspired by fishermen who live and work off the coast of Pondicherry , in the village of Thanthiaryan Kuppam. and whom I have been working with for over 2 years. Elements from the complete body of work called “Else All Will be Still,” (2015 1nd 2016) are included in this installation.
The disappearing life and lifestyle of marginal fishermen who operate mostly solo on a wooden ‘kattumaran,’ (now replaced by fiberglass boats after the Tsunami of 2004) as they have done so for several generations, is starkly evident. Their ancient livelihood is now threatened by technology and market driven fishing, which adopts large engine powered and far more expensive boats and trawlers, travelling far out to sea for large fish hauls. Their daily fish catch, from a 2 km radius from the coast, is subsequently reduced to a bare minimum. Starting their day at 4 am in the morning they toil for several hours for the paltry catch, and many have now turned to other small jobs to make ends meet.
Here, global debates of the anthropocene and climate change converge into a harsh reality. Even as the world debates larger planetary changes owing to a man- made ecological crisis, those who bear its brunt, small fisherman have no real voice in those conversations. As they watch, going about their essential daily tasks as fishermen, (fishing, net fixing and boat repairing), their coast line is slowly but surely eroding, the sea is rising and their children do not want to join the centuries old profession anymore, preferring to be engineers or graduates. They however only see the local change, largely unaware of the larger ecological and political changes which are impacting their world.
The question needs to be asked: “Is this the promise of democracy and‘progress?’”
(With thanks to Selvam, the villagers of Thndiryankuppam, Tamilnadu, and the Kiran Nader Museum of Art, New Delhi, who have graciously supported this installation)