Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest and Other Stories
12 October 2013 – 16 February 2014
Free to all
Exploring the impact that mining and other commercial activities have had on the landscape and communities of Odisha in India.
Produced following multiple collaborations between Amar Kanwar and several institutions, farmers, artists and activists in India, the installation is a mix of film, books, seeds and written material.
One central aspect is The Scene of Crime, which uses footage of the natural landscape of Odisha to show what the area looked like before its acquisition and division for commercial use.
Kanwar, who describes the situation in Odisha as a 'war against the people and their land', presents the film alongside a range of ephemeral evidence; from personal vocabularies to legal artefacts and framed documentation, including residents' proof of right to occupy.
Also part of the installation are 272 different varieties of rice seeds, brought together from the terrain of crime to highlight the disappearance of indigenous crops and the influence that global agriculture has had on small farmers.
The themes addressed by The Sovereign Forest are particularly resonant to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which sits on the coalfields and is ringed by former mining communities.
Also on display is a new commission Kanwar has produced specially for the park.
The Listening Benches, are the artist's first ever sculptural objects for the open air and have been made from the recycled timber of a 19th-century organ formerly housed in the YSP estate chapel.
Designed to sit in the Bothy Garden, they are envisaged to provide a place for contemplation while looking out over Bretton Estate and coalfields beyond.
Meanwhile, an accompanying audio installation plays music from the now defunct organ.