The main visual of this exhibition is a contemporary image depicted in the traditional Indian Warli style. The Warli Tribe has lived at the border of Maharashtra and Gujarat in west India since ancient times. This work uses white as the base color and re-presents female Warli figures from 3,000 years ago, mixing rice powder into a paste to paint traditional-styled wall drawings on rock walls outside of their houses.
Since water is a valuable and scarce natural resource in the area, the upper left-hand corner of the image depicts the origin of life: the sun, moon, and mother goddess Palaghata, the source of water. The mother goddess is the deity for birth; she creates rainfall that forms rivers, which then nourishes all living entities, sinking into the soil and enabling the growth of trees. The tree on the right is the visual focus of the entire image. Not only is the tree a habitat for all living entities, but it also provides protection and allows hunting, fishing and farming, agriculture, religious ceremonies, and dance. The human and animal figures in the image are depicted with two triangular shapes, signifying the balance between the universe and the two sexes. The large tree, the center for tribal life, supports the reproduction of species, farming, and community life. All life forces are sustained and nurtured by the mother goddess Palaghata, while Palaghata is the object of worship, forming a cycle in the universe.
This simple work emits a childlike humbleness while also portraying the relationship between the tree, human beings, and the environment in a profound manner: the expression of the tree of life reflects the cosmology and sense of self of the people. In a fleeting world of uncertainty, the cycle of life guarded by the tree is a symbol of eternity and consistency.