KALI KAMAI PUBLIC ART INSTALLATION
Public Arts Installation commissioned by the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Arts 2011
The Khasi term Kali Kamai translates as taxi or more literally as a ‘car for earning’, and is the popular local mode of transport in Shillong, Meghalaya where the project is located. The project involves the alteration of the local share-taxi making it into a mobile-site to firstly, study the relationships between the individual and the city, and secondly, address the city’s history of conflict and prevalent undercurrents of racial tension. The artist views the Kali Kamai as a one of the few truly public spaces in the city where ‘the fine lines of race are (forcibly?) blurred’ and will use this site to interface with the public through interactive audio-visual installations and one-on-one conversations. The winning proposal was selected with the help of an independent jury consisting of Sheba Chhachhi, Ravi Agarwal and K.T.Ravindran. The jury found Wanphrang’s KALI KAMAI project engaging at many levels: its cultural and geographical location (Shillong, Meghalaya), the artist’s own grounding in the site, and his attempt to utilise a shared space (the local share taxi) to engage in a dialogue with the public about the city’s history of social and political tension and address the relationship between the local Khasis and other ethnic groups.