Shambhavi Singh, Rehat/Water Garland, 2014, iron, rust, 47' × 2' 7“ × 6”.

Shambhavi Singh

Talwar Gallery | New Delhi

Shambhavi Singh, Rehat/Water Garland, 2014, iron, rust, 47' × 2' 7“ × 6”.

Poor, illiterate, lawless, caste-discriminatory Bihar is every Indian’s stereotype of rural backwardness. Yet today the state is touted as a shining example of economic development, which is greater than in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. But problems remain deep, and out-migration high. And when migrants arrive in India’s metropolises looking for work, a so-called anti-Bihari sentiment offers them a cold welcome.

Shambhavi Singh, a native of Bihar based in New Delhi, has for many years been exploring the plight of the Bihari farmer in her work. Her preference has been for metonymic images that depict not hardship and displacement directly, but rather their traces through paintings of things like feet and trains, or through sculptures made of punctured vessels. For “Reaper’s Melody” at Talwar Gallery, Singh took this a step further, with haunting metaphors of

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