The memories of those who lived in Bombay, before it became Mumbai, the bustling, overpopulated megapolis, are intricately connected to a labyrinth of congested streets with tenements known as chawls. Amol K Patil, a performance artist, owes his artworks to his roots in these chawls where he was born and raised. 36-year-old Patil studied visual arts from the Rachana Sansad Academy of Fine Arts and Crafts and is the initiator and participant of several collective practices and exhibitions around the world since 2013. His work takes the viewer through the multiple media that he works with—performance art, theatre, music, kinetic art and video installation.
Taking inspiration from his life in the chawl, Patil embarked on the project ‘What is Human Becomes Animal’, which brought to life the situations faced by sanitary workers in Mumbai, the conditions they worked in and the caste discrimination they have faced and continue to face today. Arguing that their work conditions and the daily degradation they face are beyond inhumane, ‘What is Human Becomes Animal’ foregrounds socio-economic discrimination and inequality. Patil also looks at the growth of Bombay into Mumbai, an overpopulated megapolis where the workers are dwarfed by the scaffolding of centralised urbanisation.