Ghor. Ghar. Home.
INTERACTIVE SITE | 2022
Glimpses of individual pieces of embroidery, painting and the e-zine
The idea of home is that of a comfortable memory. A warm meal, a mother’s caress, a sibling’s bickering, a home is a place one can just be, without any fear or inhibitions. What happens when one is compelled to leave behind their homes, in search for security, or livelihood, or as a custom? How do they adapt to their new cities and neighbourhoods?
This project attempts to ask these questions, and unearth some answers at Bhalswa, a place to the north of Delhi.
Ever since I was little, I have struggled with my definition of a home. Being from a family that migrated from the erstwhile East Bengal during partition, the generations after have been trying to find a place in this country. Why didn't I have a village to go back to? I too, could have climbed on mango trees and slept under the stars.
I was brought up in Delhi, and I was always in a tough spot. Do I relate to being a Bengali, or a Dilliwali? How could I be both, because that would be the best of both worlds? How do I fit in with the Ghotis without forgetting my Bangal roots, all while being a Probashi?
My placelessness stems from multiple identities mixing up, and to this day, I'm trying to find where I belong.
While working in Delhi for Better Bhalswa, I had stumbled upon a language similar to mine in a basti, and I was instantly intrigued. Who were these people, and where did they come from? Why were they here, right next to a massive dump site, picking up waste for a living, and living a life full of poverty?
Over the next year, I spent time speaking to the women and children of the basti. Having migrated from various districts of West Bengal over the last few decades, these communities came here to have a better life. While some of them have had to pick up waste work here, due to a lack of opportunities and being disadvantaged in a new city, others carry on their association with waste even after migrating. The stories from the basti speak of incredible resilience, commitment and hard work. Some of the families have managed to turn their lives for the better, by finding other sorts of work, and moving to other parts of the city. Despite this, people struggle with their everyday lives at Bhalswa, and with finding a place in a city that keeps them on the fringes. How does one navigate through the memories of their place, while struggling to call another place home? How do we find identity, voice and comfort in a new place?
How do you make it a place called Home?
About the artist
Ipsita Choudhury is a visual artist, designer and an architect currently based out of Bengaluru, India. She is a recent graduate of the School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Design from National Institute of Design, Bengaluru campus. Through her engagement with Better Bhalswa, a student’s grassroots initiative towards creating better cities, Ipsita has been involved with research, solutions thinking and on ground execution of small scale urban interventions. She has contributed as a visual artist in bringing out local narratives and towards awareness for the initiative for over two years. Passionate about urbanism, design and art, she strives to understand how design can address pressing issues in today’s world, especially ones that tend to be unseen and unheard by the world.