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Radical Housing and Socially-Engaged Art

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The interplay of scale and commingling of what elements are protagonists of the Anthropocene keeps sticking out to me as I interact with and learn from this cohort of Peers.

Celin’s work tends to centre what she calls ‘small creatures’ – a varying cast of lizards, ants, caterpillars, worms, dragonflies, rats and other visitors to the studios and homes she’s lived in. They spill and wriggle across the space, reflecting what she says about life in Khirkee Extension – buzzing, crowded, and so vitally alive.

Except now, as a visitor herself to Delhi, she’s been meditating even more on the concepts of homes, rooms and abodes. Her delicately-crafted terracotta recreations of rooms she’s lived in question what constitutes one’s habitat – is it a physical place, a kind of air quality, the beings you share it with, or is it what it takes to live and survive there?

I’ve been thinking a lot about migration and of Delhi as a city of migrants, as opposed to the Rajdhani or some kind of official centre of a particular legislative power. If a city runs on migrant labour and influence and cultural exchange (and appropriation), aren’t the pulsing phenomena of immigration and emigration the manifestation of its breathing?

In and out, in and out…