My Mother and Me gave me the opportunity to work outside the
normal white cube space of a gallery. It was made in 1997 in
Modinagar during the Khoj workshop. I had seen how cowdung is
covered up and stored across the country during the monsoon, and
I used the memory of those structures in my work. The difference is
that I created a hollowed out space so people could walk in. Also, as
a performance, I burned some cowdung cakes inside, so there was a
layer of ash on the floor. Modinagar was situated on a highway near
Delhi and there was constant noise from trucks going past. Inside the
structure, though, the noise got cut out, and there was something
spiritual about the silence.
When I was a child my mother would send me out to get things
associated with her daily pooja, like mango leaves, and also cowdung.
We also used cowdung along with coal for cooking. So I was used to
handling cowdung since my childhood. While working on the structure
at Modinagar, I remembered fetching cow dung for my mother’s
rituals, and that’s why I called it My Mother and Me.