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Arko Datto

From May 03, 2019 to June 23, 2019

Opening: Friday, May 3rd from 4. pm - 6. pm

Posted by Galleri Image


Picnicking is far from a simple affair in eastern India. In a land where the fleeting months of December to February offer the only time to ‘enjoy’ the otherwise unbearable tropical sun, picnicking is a winter pastime that’s taken very, very seriously.

Buses and cooks are hired as groups of families, friends, neighbors and colleagues travel far to claim the perfect picnic spot, preferably around the innumerable rivers traversing the landscape, from the Ganges downstream to the Rupnarayan, Icchamati and myriad other tidal rivers close to the Sunderbans. Vats of freshly slaughtered chicken, sacks of vegetable and an arsenal of pots, pans and gas cylinders are lugged along, taking cooking en plein air to a whole new level.

Yet the most curious detail is, by and far, the extravagant loudspeakers that come with nearly every picnic group. Transported in their own hand drawn carts or mini-vans, separate generators are also brought along to pump up the electricity in the great outdoors. Songs from recent Bengali and Hindi blockbusters blare high above permissible decibels. Drunk on whiskey and rum, men of all ages brawl, dance their hearts out or pass out, as wives, girlfriends and children watch.

PIK-NIK by Arko Datto, with work done between 2013 and 2015, takes a look at these yearly picnics as a phenomenon, their cultural meaning, and the environmental imprint that is left on the nature after each event.

Read more about Arko Datto: http://www.arkodatto.com.