85 x 173 x 20 in. I 216 x 439 x 50 cm (h x l x b)
The sculpture is modeled on the gates that demarcate the boundary between India and Pakistan at the Wagah Attari border. Wagah itself is a village through which the controversial Radcliffe Line was drawn during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. The Wagah border is a ceremonial border where each evening a retreat ceremony is held with pomp and pageantry called "lowering of flags" accompanied by an energetic and entertaining parade. The happenings at the border post have been a barometer of the India-Pakistan relations over the years while it continues to serve as a transit point for the train and bus routes. One gate from the Indian side of the border and the other from the Pakistani side of the border will form this third entity, that metaphorically speaking seeks to collapse the distance (not just political but the psychological barrier existing between the countries) by amalgamating the two. The surfaces of the gates are enveloped with red sacred thread usually found in temples rituals, but also seen at particular mosques in India. It is often tied to a tree; trellis screens etc to get wishes fulfilled and are meant to be untied when these get accomplished. The sculpture swathed in layers of untied thread appears to root the gates such that all prospects of entry seem expelled. Each end of the gates in the sculpture bear a fly Zapper, emitting UV light through florescent tubes. The low frequency waves attract flies or mosquitoes that would get killed while passing through the electrified grid making a buzz sound.
While the conflict between the two nations apparently seems dormant, troops from both sides of the Line of control have routinely violated the ceasefire line by exchanging fire with each other. I had first experienced seeing the border between India and Pakistan while flying over the "Line of Control" in 2001. The pilot directed our attention to the row of lights running along the border demarcating and dividing the two nations, as far as our eyes could travel. The sight had a chilling impact on me then and the feeling has stayed over the years. Relations between India and Pakistan have been fraught with tensions despite a fragile peace process. The border, held in check by the highly regulated and controlled Border Security Force, comprising an elaborate structure of buildings, barriers and roads is fenced with high voltage electricity on both the sides. Even today the two nations united by history but divided by destiny, continue to battle over the region of Kashmir.