Bhopal disaster, art and Olympics

This video says about itself:

BHOPAL: A SILENT PICTURE is a photo installation by Samar S. Jodha. During its showing at the week-long Mumbai’s Kala Godha Arts Festival 2011, it received record 82,172 visitors.

By Veronique Mistiaen in Britain:

Bhopal: A Silent Picture

Monday 23 July 2012

Aa readers of the Morning Star will know, one of the sponsors of the Olympic Games is Dow Chemical, which owns the company responsible for the December 1984 Bhopal disaster.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 people perished instantly because of a toxic gas leak from a pesticide factory in the Indian city. Over the next 20 years a further 15,000 people died and the site is still contaminated, affecting over 100,000 people.

Dow Chemical has never addressed the continuing human rights impact of the catastrophe, says Amnesty International.

In order to bring the issue to wider attention an exhibition which runs to the end of the month has just opened outside Amnesty’s headquarters in Shoreditch, east London, close to the Olympics park.

It highlights the Olympics link to Dow Chemical in a multi-sensory art installation on Bhopal by renowned Indian artist Samar Jodha.

Jodha’s temperature-controlled metal container recreates the wintry night of December 2 1984 in Bhopal with 3D images, blowtorched mannequins and a soundscape.

The latter starts silently and there are notably no alarms or sirens throughout.

As on that fateful December night, there’s just the noise of crickets and the hum of the factory.

The sound of gas escaping from the plant can be heard as the viewer moves through the container and, towards the end of the journey, the sound of the first Bhopal victim struggling to breathe.

Born in Jodhpur, India, Jodha has relatives in Bhopal including an uncle who worked at the chemical plant and another who was a doctor.

The installation will help prevent “the constant struggle of memory against forgetting,” he says.

Renowned London street artist Pure Evil has also painted a sign on the Amnesty building, which reads: “Don’t Poison Our Olympics – Tell Lord Coe To Stop Defending Dow.”

That slogan is what this exhibition’s all about and Amnesty is asking the public to contact Lord Coe, the head of the committee organising the London Olympic Games, to ask him to retract Locog’s defence of Dow Chemical and to apologise to Bhopal’s survivors.

You can email Lord Coe directly by visiting

Bhopal: A Silent Picture is at The Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, London EC2, until July 31.

Furious workers at South West Trains will take industrial action throughout the Olympics after miserly bosses refused to pay them a Games bonus payment: here.

The hysteria over Olympic security has been a wonder to behold: here.

8 thoughts on “Bhopal disaster, art and Olympics

  1. Pingback: London workers’ strikes during Olympics | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  4. Not paid for Olympic music

    I watched the Olympic opening and found it quite good entertainment. But the musicians were not paid for their contribution by bosses Locog. However, the firm is charging £9.99 for the music on iTunes.

    So I am releasing a royalty free version that I created from scratch to stop Locog greed. It contains no samples or any part of the original track and I am releasing it copyright and royalty free.

    One annoyed musician by email


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