A Beautiful Project by Daesung Lee. The island of Ghoramara is located on a delta region in West Bengal. Due to the dramatic increase in sea level, resulting from the effects global warming since the 1960’s, the shores of this island are being perpetually washed away. Since the 1980’s more than 50% of the territory has vanished due to erosion by the sea. As a result two-thirds of the population have moved away from the island.
Many of the people still living on the island are farmers and fishermen who depend on the island’s resources for their livelihoods.
According to a civil servant I met, in 20-25 years the Indian government could abolish the island and has already formulated a plan to evacuate villagers to another island named Sagar. However, this evacuation plan does not ensure any financial support or compensation for those having to relocate their lives.
The villagers in Ghoramara have begun to save money in preparation for buying new farms.I could see the traces of a heritage vanishing by the rising tides. Exposed roots of plants destroyed by the erosion serve to illustrate the absence of foundation in the lives of these people. The sea is swallowing up their past while their future remains unknown.
The island has been washing away gradually over the last couple decades. The continually receding shore and vanishing vegetation leave behind a coast of sediment holding an ironic beauty of its own amid the increasingly barren shores. You could call it a tragic beauty caused by human hands. I situated villagers on the shore and took portraits of them in juxtaposition with the beauty of the vanishing island. There will come a day when these people will have no choice but to move out of their homeland. One day this island on which they were born will only exist in their memories.
Work statement was associated with Michael Suderman (Wichita, Kansas USA)