Inconspicuous, marginal, if not invisible, tucked away in corners, hidden under
the bed, a broom would appear to be devoid of any value. Certainly, it is not an
art object that one would associate with a museum. And yet, this is precisely the
object that Komal Kothari highlighted in order to begin his investigation of the
museum. What seems totally insignificant, if not disposable, is what holds the world
together in its capacity to clean and order space.
As we explore the world of the broom, we are duly humbled by the vistas of human
and social knowledge that it is capable of revealing. First and foremost, the broom
brings us into contact with grasses, plants, and other botanical resources. In rural
Rajasthan, village women make their own brooms from whatever is available in their
environment--leaves, twigs, shrubs, and waste material. The majority of the brooms
in our exhibition focus on these improvised brooms, testifying to the ingenuity
and creativity of local knowledge.
In addition, we also focus on brooms made by professional broom-making communities
that are sold in markets. There is no dearth of variety here in terms of shape,
size, and material, which are closely related to the texture of particular surfaces.
We have collected more than a hundred brooms from different parts of Rajasthan.
The number could grow. But the focus will not be on quantity, which would promote
the ethos of collecting objects. We are more concerned with developing an understanding
of the relationship between the biodiversity of the desert and the lives of people
inhabiting and surviving its harsh, yet nurturing, environment.