Chhachhi, Sheba b.1958 / Neelkanth: Poison/Nectar
about this work
"Poison in the air, the earth, and the water. Poisoned minds, bodies, psyche, societies." 
In the ancient, still popular story, Shiva swallows the flaming mass of poison, which threatened to destroy the universe, keeping it in his throat, becoming the blue-throated one, Neelkanth.
This work relocates the archetypal/mythological figure of Neelkanth, in the contemporary Indian city/ infoscape where each of the five elements (earth, fire, water, air, and ether), the five senses (smell, sight, taste, touch, and hearing), and the power of the word itself is poisoned. An inquiry into the possibility of transformation of toxins, this installation seeks to reflect upon both our fragility and power as human beings at this point of history. And simultaneously act as a reminder of alchemical/philosophic wisdom – that every poison contains the possibility of nectar, that medicine injudiciously used becomes poison.
The work evokes both fragmentation and harmonic pattern. Within this body/city scape, the hi-rise building becomes a unit of geometric precision, garbage dumps are rendered as romantic landscape, the human concentrated to the smallest involuntary bodily movement, marked by waste, by the painful beauty of the endless struggle to ingest.Can the city be a mandala for the generation of knowledge from the mass of information that floods us? Can we, like the archetypal Neelkanth, find means of containment and transformation? Can we make nectar from poison?

Sheba Chhachhi (b.1958, India)

Neelkanth: Poison/Nectar, 2000-2008

240 Aluminum light boxes with photographs, 4 Translite Light boxes
Edition: 2/3 + 1AP
731 x 731 cm
287 13/16 x 287 13/16 in.
Volte Gallery, Mumbai, India Current Location:
UK - London - G4Si InstallationSouth Asia


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