A CLIFF TOWERING OVER MUDDY WATERS, bearing a large crack, is photographed several times, and the images are arranged in a composite grid. The water seems to be placid in the first few frames. At first look, this series in Zishaan A Latif’s paintings appeared unnecessarily repetitive. As my eye moved from left to right, I wondered about the photographer’s purpose throughout the near-equal pics in the first row.
As I made my way forward in the sequence, this time from right to left, the pictures, step by step, commenced to expose the captured incident—the edge of the precipice started to bend, the crack began to widen, and the water began to froth. The cliff became collapsing. Moving down the grid, the disfiguration became an increasing number of glaring, attaining a crescendo midway as a massive bite of land fell into the water. By the time I reached the ultimate body, having moved in alternating guidelines in every row, the change had become glaring: a big part of the cliff had disappeared. The river carried signs of the disintegration, and I realized that Latif, and now I, had been witness to the landmass coming aside.
Latif’s first visit to Majuli, a river island in Assam, in 2015, was on a mission for Asian Paints that involved documenting shades on the island to assist in broadening a new palette. During his days there, he felt that a “physical, social and cultural shift, which had been taking place for a long time, changed into palpable within the air.” But it turned into simplest on his next trip, years later, and six subsequent visits, that he could join this to the island’s topography, which changed into being hastily altered because of erosion. “The ghats retain to shift overnight, and on every subsequent experience I made following April 2017, I noticed a clear sporting away on the rims of the island,” he told me. “I even have visible the ravenous Brahmaputra gobble away components in a frenzy.”