Majnu ka tilla is a tapestry work, crafted entirely out of ghungroos, small metal bells worn by women as anklets or otherwise, in traditional Indian dance. Galhotra’s composition depicts a sprawling, crowded and claustrophobic building that has sprung up along the shores of the river Yamuna. The rhizomatic structure sprouts out like a bee-hive on the wall: the shadows of the concrete structure symmetrically reflecting on the river water.
The ghungroo, an object of aesthetic and sonic appeal, here forewarns and announces the doom about to unfold. An object with cultural but also gendered heritage, becomes the very artistic material to address the issue of overcrowding in urban centres and the resulting competition for natural resources. While visually scintillating, Majnu ka tilla also refers to the hub of Tibetan refugees in Delhi by the same name, and thereby the graveness of the global politics of migration. Evident in the material and formal conception of the work, is the strong undercurrent of political and ecological awareness, with nuances of cultural aesthetics.