58.5cm x 43cm. Hand embroidery and applique on cotton, 2019
In Parsee culture fire, earth and water are sacred and so their ancient funerary customs centre on excarnation. They believe that to reach heaven, vultures serve as holy intermediaries between earth and sky. Their dead are placed on a tower where vultures liberate the soul by consuming the body.
But these vultures are so rare now that the bodies are not consumed quickly enough, and their slow decomposition poses a pathological threat to human life, meaning these ancient holy customs have had to cease.
Global population of vultures have halved every year since the 90s, and in India there has been a 90% decrease in the last 10 years.