New Work at Booth C11, Wonderwall at India Art Fair, 2019
All hell broke loose on the eve of 23rd December 2014, when the Songibijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) brutally massacred 23 women and 18 children of Adivasi ethnicity (tea tribe dwellers who were brought by the British 150 years ago from the chhota nagpur belt) in remote geographies of Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts of Assam in Northeast India. The next day Adivasis settlers carried out protests that turned violent and led to torching of NDFB safe houses and camps in villages by the Adivasis. Somwehere the angst of the adivasis turned towards the local tribal Bodo community and this led to destruction of houses in little known villages and towns in the poor, underdeveloped area. By the time the Assam government and Indian Army were able to contain the situation, around 81 people had been killed, and 300,000 were homeless, their mostly humble homes lost to arson and looting.
Most of these people are still in relief camp limbo, waiting with diminishing hope for the day they can return to their former houses to try and rebuild their lives