Artists’ walk documents the many facets of Cooum

For some it was a fishing spot, a place to rear ducks or grow crops, and others used it to wash clothes and drain their sewage. A group of artists had captured these facets of the Cooum river as they set out on a journey along the waterway.

The 10-member group, who went on a ‘Walk along the River Cooum’ last month to record artistic impressions of the 72-km waterway have returned with a renewed perception.

The team comprising artists from across the country documented the river through photography, documentaries and poems. But, the walk in the city limits threw up many challenges and they had to take small diversions when they had to confront a building or thorny bushes.

The river has exposed itself to myriad uses for people along the banks and is a means of livelihood for many, says Sarah Ramya, a city-based activist and photographer. “It was scintillating to walk along the banks and drink in its beauty. We even swam across the river and drank its water all through our walk in Tiruvallur,” says Ms. Ramya, who walked a minimum of 10 km daily along the river.

Women near Manavala Nagar, Tiruvallur, wait for rain anxiously as their livelihood depends on the greens that grow along Cooum. “A 60-year-old woman manages her living for six months selling greens. Another woman at Aminjikarai recalled how she had tasted fishes of the river a few decades ago,” Ms. Ramya says.

Pa. Madhavan, executive director, Goa Center for Alternative Photography, who curated the walk, plans to redraw the map of the river with human interferences, be it a check-dam, settlements or graveyard. “We plan to publish our works and also host a Cooum river festival in January along the banks. International artists will also be invited,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 3:48:21 AM |

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