NonNative Lament: Vilayati Kikar
“NonNative Lament” is an installation that is both elegy and introspection. It mourns the narratives woven around Prosopis juliflora, known locally as Vilayati Kikar or Mesquite in its native South America, and labelled India’s Most Hated Tree*. Rooted in 19th-century British colonial history, this tree was introduced to the Indian subcontinent for its soil-stabilising properties. Today, the Delhi Government’s Kikar Hatao Campaign seeks to eradicate it as a perceived threat to native flora. Yet, in defiance of eradication efforts across the country, the tree perseveres, asserting its presence as a thorny intruder. However, its story is multifaceted, extending beyond hatred. Dkhar encountered the Kikar on the edges of Khirki Village and Khirki Extension, intrigued by its contentious status as an invasive species. Through “NonNative Lament,” Dkhar questions and reimagines our understanding of native and non-native, provoking a deeper reflection on the complex dynamics that shape our environment and collective history.
* Lhendup, Bhutia. “India’s Most Hated Tree.” Open The Magazine, 12 July 2018, https://openthemagazine.com/features/environment/indias-most-hated-tree/.
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