Bhopal, saris for memory
Was it necessary to lay down in front of them those saris printed with newspaper clippings relating this ominous night of December 1984 when a deadly gas escaped from the Union Carbide chemical plant, those medical imagery or these pictures of the factory skeleton reminding us that the page hasn't yet been turned?
They unfolded the saris, draped themselves in it, then some looked at me while others preferred to turn around, their backs to me, offering just their silhouette as a still image.
They had accepted my idea. Have them pose in these printed saris. They accepted Bhopal sticking yet a little bit more to their skin. Some are tireless fighters. They claim compensation for the 3,500 who died the night of the disaster and for the 200,000 patients adding up over the years. They take to the streets to demand that the authorities clean up the site that keep polluting. Wether directly or indirectly affected, their dignity moved me. They remain women, and that is also what those embroidery bordering the saris tell. I wanted these movements in the drapes and their gaze, strong and sweet at the same time to challenge us and stand out on these images reminding us of what was Bhopal and what this Indian city is today, whose name is forever linked to a disaster which could have been avoided.
So yes, I had to lay down these saris in front of them. They wear them in defiance and I like them to be beautiful in this fight.