Navjot Altaf’s practice involves painting, sculptures, installations, video, photography and site-specific works that negotiate various disciplinary boundaries. Navjot works with people from different disciplines as well as with indigenous artists and community members on public art projects in Central India. Her methodology ascertains the interactive aspects of collaboration, whereby the work emerges out of an extended dialogical interaction. Navjot is interested in understanding the significance of transdisciplinary work “whose nature is not merely to cross disciplinary boundaries.
Navjot has been participating in national and international artists’ residencies and in
Apart from number of solo exhibitions in and outside India, some of her participations include, Starting from the Desert. Ecologies on the Edge, 2nd Yinchuan Biennale, (2018) Landscape as Evidence: Artist as Witness: KHOJ, New Delhi, India (2017) Stretched Terrains: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art New Delhi, India (2017) amongst several others.
‘Soul Breath Wind’ addresses how systems of relationship are disrupted at different levels, which open up questions concerning what and who are we really caring for in the absence of affective political will and lacuna in law.
According to Navjot, Coal/iron ore mining in South Bastar District and Northern Central parts of Chhattisgarh Statemoves with furious energy; in the opposite direction- causing destruction and slow violence. Soul Breath Wind, a video, has evolved over a period stemming from research and contact with the local communities who are fighting for justice against powerful forces committing crime by increasing the vulnerability of ecosystems. The appropriation of natural resources, human and non-human alike, which is persisting in a big way under the pretext of progress for the well-being. So, these social, economic and historical conditions compel one to confront the ghostly and haunting aspects of this kind of change meant for the progress to improve peoples’ economic standards.
Navjot questions ‘if it is progress then why are all living beings on the planet facing high consequence risks, environmental harm?’ And as the social scientists Giddens and Beck say these are all ‘manufactured risks’.
How to then sense the insensible?
In favor of renewable resources, local communities want to continue farming. They are community not as something given, but rather as a result that is obtained through co-participation and dialogue. For Navjot, it is a space for feedback and collaboration, to create a feeling for care, a place of containment. She says “It is in such settings I witness the emergence of the processes of learning for life; it is there that living knowledge or wisdom out pours and one can sense that the main ecological crisis for them could be the increasing loss of connectedness”.