Before is an examination of life in Houston after Hurricane Harvey and in India after extreme flooding.
Before explores the myriad ways water works to mold our environment and our lives, examining the vulnerabilities people face because of natural disasters, and the ways in which communities come together as a result.
Hurricane Harvey was the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting nearly $200 billion in damage all over Houston. In a four-day period, it became the wettest storm on record in the country. And the resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people and resulted in 100 deaths. Meanwhile, as a result of heavy monsoon rains that led to flooding in South Asia, more than 1,200 people died across India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Over 40 million people were immediately affected by the devastation, and 1.8 million children were left out of school — but the numbers continued to grow with time.
Created in collaboration with Stardust Arts Foundation, the images created for Before are memorials to the emotional loss caused by flooding, in the context of Houston and India. Homes ruined, belongings irreparably damaged, photographs lost forever, families separated — the flooding destroyed more than just objects. These images, of flood-damaged personal items and parts of homes that became piles of trash, were transferred by hand onto paper then digitally printed onto aluminum, juxtaposing a resilient and durable object with precious, fleeting memories. In India and in Houston, though the geography and devastation were different, the destructive brown water of the floods was the same.