What you see when you see: The labour, local and urban inspiration

Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Updated: May 15, 2017, 04:00 IST

Among other things, Birender Yadav has been exploring his identity as a son of a coal miner from Dhanbad. In one of his previous works, he used workers’ thumb prints as impressions of the uneducated - a process that engages people who work hard for a living.His work grapples with the self and his own predicament as an artist whose idea is to explore conceptual ideas about identity, material and the politics and violence that is prevalent in our society. His recent work, while he lived on Shanthi Road, looks at surveillance in Bengaluru, the iconic evil eye demons that dot the city, and the popular political symbols that fire his imagination.

Labour movements have often been an inspiration for artists, who are typically sympathetic to workers and their struggles. Official sources say that Dhanbad-Jharia coal fields form part of this heavy industrial triangle. They are a rural mining area, with about 110 official coal mines and probably the same amount of unofficial mines.

They are India’s main
center
for manufacturing coal used for cooking, a particular sort of coal important for steel production. Scattered in the region are the vast open-cast mines, interspersed with villages and miners colonies. Trucks loaded with coal and heavy machinery dominate the scenery, interrupted by push-carts and bicycles – loaded with coal. The Dhanbad-Jharia region is said to be one of the most polluted areas of the world.