Cow dung art

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Jun 04 2017

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Category: Asia, India

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At the 2016 Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Slovenian artist Aleš Šteger has built a pyramid covered with cow dung cakes. Going through the labyrinthine passageway inside, one hears a cacophony of soft voices reciting verses in the original language of the poets who have written them. They all speak of exile. Šteger has made a ‘Pyramid of Exiled Poets’.

Why a pyramid? Maybe because poets deserve it more than the despotic rulers that have caused their exile and who love constructing monumental tombs for their own glory?
Why covered with cow dung? Maybe just because of its simple, natural beauty?

I always love seeing cow dung cakes stuck to walls for drying, or spread out on the ground in regular patterns. Each cake with the hand imprint of the woman who made it.

Drying cow dung, Futera, Orchha M.P., India 2009

Drying cow dung, Futera, Orchha M.P., India 2009

Drying cow dung, Futera, Orchha, M.P., India2009

Drying cow dung, Futera, Orchha M.P., India 2009

There was a time you said: “we’re muted, muted, muted.” So hear me out a while, my Song of voices lost, as Ivan Blatný writes in his poem Melancholy Walks.

dsc00078ccr-ales-steger-kmb-2016

A monument of cow dung art for poets’ muted voices sent into exile.

Photos of the week: Aleš Šteger, The Pyramid of Exiled Poets 2016, Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, Kerala, India 2016

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