The installation titled ‘Coal Couture’, is a mock brand of luxury luggage made with wood and glass, designed
with specific requirements for ‘those who matter’, with the real baggage on display: a child’s school bag, shoes,
uniform, math exercise book, all objects collected from homes covered in the finest coal dust at coal mining sites
in India, South East Asia and South Africa. It is the artist’s representation of the highly lauded ‘high life’ that is
carbon-intensive, environmentally unsustainable, harmful to human health, and profoundly unjust. This
lopsided skyward drive is symbolised here as a coveted couture object: a transparent luggage bag, manufactured
to the specific requirements of the few and for the few who have colonised the lives and natural resources of the
rest, represented here by the real, personal belongings of children living around coal mines and power plants.
Displayed in the couture bags, the children’s belongings and their hidden toxic lives represent the real baggage
of such unjust and unhealthy fossil-fueled economies. It was launched at the World Health Organization’s First
Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health (October, 2018)
‘Coal Couture’ is supported by Climate Trends, an India-based media strategy initiative focusing on building
public understanding and reportage on low carbon pathways, and Health Care Without Harm, an international
NGO that works to transform the health sector worldwide, promoting environmental health and justice.