A Moon for Everyone is an installation that was an outcome of my artistic research at Kusthia, Bangladesh. The project was mainly a creative negotiation with my understanding of cultural practices in both sides of East (now Bangladesh) and West Bengal. In the project, I have collected sound textures (ambiance sound) of every single place I visited as I believe sound plays an important role in our memory of place/time/ site. I have also done good amount of research on present situation of Hindus living in Bangladesh, which includes an interview with the priest of 300 years old Krishna Temple in Kusthia. This gives a clear understanding of how both Hindu and Moslems in the country are evolving in there process of coexistence. I also got the chance to interview the main priest/Moulana of Lalan Fakir and got deeper knowledge about Lalan Sain’s history. Lalan Fakir had been principal influence behind the Baul Community (itinerant bards) on both sides of Bengal, who have created an alternative discourse about class, caste and religion by building their own institution The most interesting aspect of my research was, knowing about the Bolahari Community. Bolahari’s are found in both India and Bangladesh, but in recent days this community has shrunk in terms of it population. Having some distinct cultural social practices, Balahari’s have a very hybrid rituals.
My project also involved interviewing people from various walks, be it rickshaw driver, business men or the farmers which explored their understanding of Bengal on the both side of border as some of the older generations still doesn’t believe and cant accept the division of Bengal and claims Bengal as an undivided land . The scar of partition has impacted deep in their understanding of motherland and their sense of identity.
Collating the research documentations I had created an interactive site specific installation which dealt with the complexities of these narratives. Using the Moon as a conceptual thread, I tried bringing in these stories together as bedtime stories. As we all have been told various bedtime stories in our childhood. Here the Moon is a metaphor that binds our childhood imaginations. The historical and contemporary socio-economical- political scenario of the other side of Bengal was portrayed here.
The installation was created on a bamboo jetty on a local pond, where a video of the moon’s reflection on water was projected on a pillow of a double bed placed on the jetty, when the audience slept on this bed, the moon metaphorically narrated all the stories that were collected during the research, through the sound textures (audios) of the space.