SKYSCAPE Khoj Refracting Rooms, Pune, India
Laws of Manu
Circa 100 BC
From his mouth God
created the Brahman (priest),
from his arms the Kshatriya (ruler),
from his thighs the Vaishya (commoner),
and from his feet the Shudra (servant)
Chapter 1, Verse 51
Skyscape is a tangible interpretation of the Hindu Varna system, where, according to popular belief as well as sacred Hindu texts such as the Manusmriti, it is believed that every caste comes from, and therefore represents a certain part of the human body.
The position of Dalits, or ex-untouchable community, is below the Shudras, below the feet. For centuries their caste occupation has been to handle and dispose of all forms of pollutants, be it carcasses, dead bodies, excreta, and all bodily fluids. In fact, they themselves are deemed polluting and impure.
Though the practice of untouchability is officially banned in India today, it is still widely observed across the country in various forms, and many attempts by Dalits to break out of the clutches of caste have been suppressed with systemic forms of violence as well as horrific brutality and bloody retaliation, even to basic human rights such as education.