River Drawing, 2021

Installation view, Norrtalje Konsthall, Sweden

River Drawing
in situ wall drawing made using electric wires, nails and pigment
7.5 ft x 12 ft (h x l)  I  2 x 3.6 metres

River Drawing points to the absurdity of national efforts to discipline and claim ever-moving bodies of water by reshaping the landscape. In this subversive work, the artist marks/draws the borders between countries that are in conflict over the sharing of their common river waters. Groups of such outlines of manmade political borders were repurposed by variously arranging them. The resulting permutations of lines give rise to a more familiar, liberating topography where rigid territorial lines of separation seamlessly transform into a free-flowing river, carving a new topography with a flowing river forming the landscape. Rivers don’t recognize political demarcations whether it’s the river Rhine, the Danube, the Nile, Arpacay, the river Imjin that flows between North and South Korea, the Rio Grande between USA and Mexico, Shatt-Al-Arab between Iran and Iraq or the Indus between India and Pakistan.

“Many trans-boundary agreements are in dispute over who controls access to the shared waters, with the course of the river itself manipulated and changed through dams or other hydro-electric project” “Instead of rivers being at the centre of conflict between countries, our dependence on them should enable us to find more ways of transboundary cooperation with water being a shared heritage”.

A recurring motif in Kallat’s work is the electric cable, a symbol of contact and a conduit for energy and ideas that the artist weaves into the shape of barriers and barbed wires. Pieces of wire mesh with rips and tears allude to border fences and the inherent violence of their existence.