Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Sarabhai Archives, Vidyarthi Vishesh Show, Tribal Art Museum.. more


Motaben : The Sarabhai Archives

( Some of the photos on display at the show)
India International Centre, New Delhi, presents an exhibition of rare photographs of Anasuyaben Sarabhai (1885-1947), fondly called Motaben. She is one of the iconic women in India known for joining Mahatma Gandhi in his struggle and leading the historic strike of mill workers in Ahmedabad.
The show has been curated by eminent curator Ela Bhatt who was acquainted with Motaben, with the help of Ami B Potter. The show displays rare photographs from the Sarabhai archives and Motaben’s own words as text to go along with the photos, which has been translated by Jyotsna Milan and Somnath Bhatt, assistant curator and designer.

The show starts on 17th July 2013 and is on view till the 29th july 2013.

Beyond Pain: A presentation

(Vasudha Thozhur and Himmat workshop artists)
The Mohile Parikh Center, Mumbai presents a presentation and discussion titled, Ground Zero, of artist Vasudha Thozhur and Sasha Altaf. The discussion will be held on 18th July 2013. The discussion is a feature in conjunction with the show Beyond Pain: An afterlife, on view at Sakshi gallery and Project 88.

The discussion is about the artist’s experiences during the Himmat workshops which were a response to external as well as internal conflict, and therefore situated as much without the studio as within. To situate art within a zone of devastation is to test its capacity for survival in extreme conditions, but for the same reason, also gives rise to some rare insights. Rather than use this opportunity to talk about the project in terms of its development this presentation is an attempt to discover the role of art projects in changing existing equations.
The Himmat Workshops is a research project (2002-2012) initiated by Vasudha Thozhur and supported by the India Foundation for the Arts and Khoj International Artists’ Association. It involved collaborating with Himmat, an activist organization based in Vatva, Ahmedabad. 
Vasudha Thozhur is an artist, based in Baroda. Besides participation in exhibitions in the country and abroad, institutional work has involved lectures/ teaching/workshops as visiting faculty at MS University Baroda, NID Ahmedabad and IICD Jaipur.
Sasha Altaf is an independent curator, art critic and an adjunct professor at the Department of Art and Art History, University of Miami, Florida.
The discussion, presentation will take place at 6:00pm on 18th july 2013 at the auditorium, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai.

Vidyarthi Vishesh - Annual Students’ Show

(A painting at the show)
Every year Gallery Pradarshak, Mumbai scouts for new and fresh students’ art works from various colleges and art institutions in Maharashtra state, and presents the best works in their annual show, ‘Vidyarthi Vishesh’

The show is classified and judged on the basis of the style of the work. The show is divided into segments like landscapes, abstracts, figuratives, graphics and drawings.
In view of the ongoing Vidyarthi Vishesh show, the gallery presents its winner of the ‘Landscape Art’. 

The participating students are from Sir J J School of Art - Mumbai, Yashwant Kala Mahavidyalaya - Aurangabad, K K Wagh College ofFine Art -Nashik, Abhinav Kalamahavidyalaya- Pune and Chitrakala Mahavidyalaya - Latur, this year.

The aim of the show is to highlight different mediums, techniques and styles at affordable rates for buyers which can help the students for their education.

The show began on the 15th July 2013 and will be on view till the 27th July 2013.

For any queries please call - +91 22 26462681

Rustic Muse Show

(A sculpture at the show)
Eka art space,Bangalore presents a show titled, ‘Rustic Muse’. The show displays a collection of sculptures and murals inspired by the earth colours of rural India.  The renowned artist Simi Nirula from Kolkata, depicts the normal, everyday life and workday of the rural people in her enchanting works. Working in clay, cold ceramics to make her sculptures more akin to the rural scenario, the artist creates an array of interesting works.

Intriguing life like figurines with expressions of folk customs, and beliefs are all visible in the works. The show presents a kaleidoscope of myriad shapes and colours that seem to come alive in the light of the artist’s imaginations.

The show is on view till the 21st of July 2013.

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)


The art of the Adivasi
A new museum in Madhya Pradesh showcases the oral narratives of seven major tribes. And it’s put together by the tribals themselves, says Gowri Ramnarayan.
(Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum)
Once upon a time, the mighty God Badadev disappeared into the Saja tree. A minstrel crafted the bana, a new musical instrument, to awaken him. The musician’s bow followed the movements of the bharhi bird as it dipped and swerved in flight. Invoked by this music, Badadev reappeared and blessed the tribe.
Such stories from seven major tribes of Madhya Pradesh (MP) — Gond, Bhil, Baiga, Kol, Korku, Sahariya, Bhariya — are recorded in their traditional bardic songs. Now, Jan Jatiya Sangrahalay, the new tribal museum in Bhopal, transforms these oral narratives into huge paintings and sculptures.
How did a project for preservation launch a process of creation? Two years ago, at a meeting of bureaucrats, archaeologists, anthropologists and sociologists, Bhil painter Bhuribai asked, “Shouldn’t a tribal museum be made by the tribals themselves?” Shriram Tiwari, Director, Culture Department, MP, then formed a core team of tribal scholars and contemporary artistes, determined to build something rooted in the tribal imagination, instead of a monotonous display of classified artefacts, without context.
With grants mostly from the State, but also from the Central Government, the museum took shape. Not as a storehouse of dead objects, but with the labours of a thousand tribal artistes arriving in batches, from every part of MP, recasting myth and life in amazing visuals, out of traditional materials like wood, iron, jute, mud, clay, straw, hemp and leaves, as well as canvas, acrylic and glass. “Such is their sense of ownership that the residing tribal artistes didn’t wait for us, but salvaged everything when rains flooded the museum,” says Tiwari.
Baiga artist Ladlibai insists, “This is not a sangrahalay (museum), but our ghar (home). Things are changing in villages. But here, our children and grandchildren will know what our culture, past and present, means.”
Just before its inauguration on June 6 by President Pranab Mukherjee, the museum was thronged by happy artists in colourful costumes, playing drums, testing flutes, putting finishing touches on the six galleries.
The first gallery, still incomplete, maps Madhya Pradesh with its five adjoining states. The central banyan tree will eventually touch ceiling and walls to indicate tribal affinities transcending geopolitical boundaries. The second depicts tribal homes, built ingeniously with local materials; the Bhil house standing alone on high ground. Artist Harisingh Khuman explains how the cowshed in the front yard is vital to daily and festive life, how every object — whether hunting tool or oil-straining basket — is both utilitarian and ritualistic. “Now there are plastic pots and machines for everything,” he laughs.
“Moved by the pain and sacrifice of Baasin Kanya (bamboo maiden) in my grandmother’s story, I made it in my mind first,” says Gond artist Durgabai Vyam, who has depicted the saga of a sister inadvertently killed by her loving brother. The girl is reborn as the bamboo, indispensable in every aspect of tribal life. A newborn is placed on a bamboo soopa, a corpse on a bamboo bier.
Durgabai has travelled widely, attended urban workshops, created paintings to be published in books. “When I paint, I am connected to my roots. Rain washes out our wall paintings in the village. In this museum they are preserved for the world to see.” Her daughter Roshni, studying in NIFT, Bangalore, at home in Hindi and English, has neither tribal name nor village life. But she says that, though her generation belongs to the city, “I know tribal rituals and stories. So, even if I paint city life, it will be in our style, and reflect our beliefs.”
In the Devlok gallery, ceramic artiste and museologist Shampa Shah explains, “There is a tribal deity for everything from recovering lost cattle to curing stomach ache. Some are both goddess and god. Hardly any idols though; even a few objects under a banyan tree become a spiritual installation.” Little clay dwellings for ancestors pack a whole wall, offering an aerial view of the dead world. Consultant artist Harchandansingh Bhatti says, “Viewing spots at different heights in every gallery, lit up to suggest day or night, make visitors feel they are wandering many planes — devlok (higher worlds) and paataal (lower worlds).”
(Tribal Museum)
There are galleries for guests and games, where exhibits will keep changing. Chattisgarh dominates the first, with its Dussera chariot traditionally made by participants from 40 communities in Bastar. With its few toys but many games, the second proves that to play is to invent and imagine.
Director Tiwari admits that, since the installations are crafted with perishable materials, maintenance demands vigilance and continual restoration. He also shares his dreams of showcasing, in turns, tribal art from across the country and the world. A first concrete step is the international film festival of tribal cultures held in June at the museum’s snug theatre.
Project coordinator Ashok Mishra says, “Traditional society is past focussed. Metro dwellers are future oriented. Tribal culture lives in the present. Even death is but a way to the next new life. Since their oral tradition keeps changing, it is ever alive, constantly renewed, always modern.” Mishra sees tribal aesthetics and professional skills as perfectly adaptable to nouveau lifestyles. He believes that using modern materials makes the tribal artist more innovative.
This idea is actualised on the huge wall painting in glowing acrylic by Bhil artist Bhuribai — autobiographical but also the story of her community. Discovered by eminent artist J. Swaminathan among migrant labourers building Bharat Bhavan, Bhuribai overcame initial fears to become a noted painter. Bubbling humour makes her identify Swaminathan by his veshti and Indira Gandhi, who gives her an award, by the gun-toting security guard behind her. The last visual is of an aircraft. “I am going to America,” she smiles.
Despite the paradox of attempting to showcase tribal life in an undistinguished concrete building, Bhopal’s Tribal Museum may promote dialogue between tribal and urban societies and add brand value to the State’s tribal arts. The artists speak of another gain: the museum has made their children — entranced by TV and Bollywood glitz — realise the value of their own traditions and art forms.
A Sahariya tale sums up this wisdom. As God created more and more living beings, the first human couple he made got pushed to the edge. When he distributed magnificent gifts, the first couple got only a hoe, but were content to live with it, at peace with everything around them.
As scholar Vasant Nirgune puts it, “The essence of tribal lore is a deep knowledge of the surroundings, nature, seasons, spirituality, where individual consciousness melds with the collective, and humans are not central, but only part of life on earth.” Highlighting this intuitive knowledge is the real challenge for this ambitious museum.
(Report and photos by Gowri Ramnarayan for The Hindu)

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