Anand Patwardhan:
Fishing: In the Sea of Greed; A Narmada Diary

Sunday 21 July 2013, 16.00 – 18.00

£5, concessions available.
Season ticket £30 / £20 concessions.
Individual screening days available to book on-line, season tickets available to book by telephone 020 7887 8888

Fishing: In the Sea of Greed

India 1998, video, 45 min, Hindi, Telugu, English subtitles

From South India to Bangladesh, Fishing: In the Sea of Greed traces a choreography of struggle against industrial scale fishing and intensive shrimp cultivation. It follows coastal fishing communities as they gather to make their presence felt on Bombay’s streets. Patwardhan painstakingly documents the efforts of organisers from the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) to co-ordinate fisherpeople from Bombay, Madras, Visakhapattnam and Bangalore in a successful national campaign to blockade foreign factory ships from entering India’s harbours. Through interviews and a muted television advert of a white family enjoying prawns that lasts as long as it takes to blink, Fishing: In the Sea of Greed carefully reconstructs the infrastructure of global export. In the jubilant epilogue, fisherwomen and children march, sing and dance in the streets and beaches of Mumbai with fish workers from South Africa, Pakistan, Argentina, Norway, Senegal and other countries on 21 November 1997: World Fisheries Day, a holiday from all fishing, landing and selling.

A Narmada Diary

India 1995, video, 57 min, Hindi, Gujurati, English subtitles

The opening and closing ‘entries’ in the Diary are symmetrical; official government documentary footage extolling the irresistible benefits of a hydro-engineered and electrified rural future (‘Speed and Technology’) is counterposed to images of the seemingly timeless harvest festival of Holi, celebrated in March 1994 at the village of Domkheri, threatened with imminent submergence by the rising headwaters of the dam. Linear, progressive, industrial time confronts cyclical, ritual, agrarian time. But in their closing reprise of the traditional ceremony, Patwardhan and co-director Simantini Dhuru let us see what we can now more fully understand: the body-painted, head-dressed adivasi dancers confront and burn their demons, singling out the newest, greatest malignity of all, the Sardar Sarovar dam itself. Their ritual dance is a configuration of actuality, of living collective experience, open to history. Resistance has been integrated, innovatively, into the everyday activity, language and rites of the people of this region – overwhelmingly adivasis, long scorned as ‘tribals’, are descendants of the pre Aryan, aboriginal inhabitants of India.

Followed by response and audience discussion with T.J. Demos, Anand Patwardhan, Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar.

T.J. Demos is Reader in the Department of Art History at University College, London. He is author of The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis 2013, Return to the Postcolony: Specters of Colonialism in Contemporary Art 2013 and guest editor of Third Text 120, 2013, on ‘Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology.’

Part of the series A Cinema of Songs and People: The Films of Anand Patwardhan.

Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium

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Anand Patwardhan, Fishing: In the Sea of Greed 1990

Anand Patwardhan, Fishing: In the Sea of Greed 1990
Film still
Courtesy the artist

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