In Yamuna Walk, photographer and multimedia artist Atul Bhalla documents a five-day trek along the sacred Yamuna River as it passes through his home city of New Delhi, India. Through his vivid and haunting photographs, Bhalla explores the myriad ways that modern life along the Yamuna is shaped by water, from the rural outskirts of the city to the polluted landscape of urban Delhi. Climbing over fences, crossing concrete overpasses, and navigating between blooming fields and piles of waste on his journeys, Bhalla also shows the diverse marks of human development that can be read in the image of the river.
Bhalla describes his practice as an attempt to understand water, the way he perceives it, feels it, drinks it, swims in it, and sinks in it. The personal and humanized but still mysterious Yamuna that emerges through his photographs sheds an unusual and compelling light on issues of water and the urban environment.
Maliha Noorani was formerly the Norma Jean Calderwood Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Islamic and Later Indian Art, Harvard Art Museum/Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and is currently pursuing her PhD at Yale University.