Ana Caroline (Brazil)
What matters to you?
“What matters to you?” is a project that combines visual anthropology, photography and psychology. The idea was making a photography workshop in which some kids with ages ranging from 9 to 14 were invited to take photos of things that were meaningful to them. First, they had a brief lesson to learn how to handle a DSLR camera and then they had to go home and write down ten things that were important to them and that they wanted to show to other people.
The children were divided in two groups and each one of them had a whole day to photograph, under my supervision, the subject they have chosen. After all the photos were taking, they helped me to edit the photos on Photoshop, choosing colors and crops according to their taste. The, they had to select only five photos and choose their favorite image and explain why they think that image is the best. And this is where visual anthropology and psychology begins.
During the process of taking photos and accompanying the children during the day, I had time to observe and recognize some personality traits in each kid. These traits were completely matched and emphasized either by the subject they have chosen or when they explained the meaning of their favorite photos. Such as Teeja, a very shy girl who took a photo of the front door of her house and chose it as her favorite. She explained why: “I like doors because I can let it open or close it whenever I don’t feel like talking”.
As an artist aware about our day to day socio-environmental and cultural activities, which I try to say in a vivid metaphoric language through my contemporary life and daily experience with adding personal situation in a metro society. How we evaluate and divulge our nostalgia form, truth and violence of pollution, dialogue of diameter and background of a nature. Sometimes it may behave dramatically or disgracefully. At this situation, the daily rural sceneries, activities and its folktales influenced me very much since today.
Since my early artistic career I am aquanted with nature and socio-cultural activities. That force always instigated me to dig the environmental issue and carried a conceptual art practice as per my experience. My art practice always derived the physical relation between rural and urban act of living style. These are very contrast color of sense and thought process in my every art work.
There is a proper space is always very challenging for me because I am living in a space where no free land available for using any installation or site specific art work in a large size. When I joined the international artist village residency, I found a huge space to explore my idea with rural communities and children of village SARECHA to make a beautiful site-specific collaborative art project for better sanitation to create a sane socio-environment life through a monumental idea after a little research about the place, people and their living style.
Most of the people had choice, to shit in open air in that rural area. So I use the huge open landscape by dug some latrine pan about approx. 3feet long each and decorating to contrast with white powder color and then lighting with candle for nightscape. The latrine pan talks about the cleanness in one hand and polluted environment of metro city. So, you have to chose, are you responsible for the cleanness or pollution? Always light clear the darkness. Through the idea if you are taking the response, then the polluted like darkness will clear. So I want to connect and spread a sensation of the originality of my dialogue through my collaborative project. Which create a metaphoric dialogue of polluted place, where we are living now in an unhealthy environment.
Simone Wierod -(Denmark)
Village life in rural Rajasthan is based on lots of traditions, both cultural and religious, and does not allow much space for a free choice – if any at all. This especially goes for the women, whose lives are pretty much planned ahead of them by others than themselves from when they are very young.
My impression is that most girls and women have never had the choice, have never been asked what they would like to do. Therefore, the starting point for my research was to ask them about their dreams, to ask them what they would like to do or be if there were no rules, if they were not to please anyone and if they were to decide for themselves.
The results were a series of interviews in their local dialect of Hindi, which I with help from translators could structure in a way that I knew what each sentence meant. From this material I created the soundscape for the performance by putting together bits and pieces from their statements, creating a poem-like arrangement.
In my interview sessions I also asked the girls and women to draw their biggest dream for me in a small notebook, both to ease the conversation and for me to get a visual picture.
Having set the musical structure, and with the visual pictures from the drawings, I could start choreographing my work. Each movement was created to the sound, dynamic and meaning of each word, as well as the dynamic in the development of the piece was set after the buildup of the sound.
In my movement language I used a lot of gestures to interpret their words, which is also a very common way of expression in classical Indian dance, which the girls and women were all familiar with. I worked with round and angular movements and sharp and precise dynamics to shape and underline the meaning of their words.
The piece was performed at sunset at a dusty field in the village with raw nature as a backdrop and the sun’s journey as a natural light change.
The intention with the piece was to open the minds of the girls and women to start dreaming and articulating their wishes and thereby inspire others to do so. Using contemporary dance as the media underlines and supports the purpose by using free movements, showing no limitations in the body and not letting the body of the female dancer be restricted in any form, but just using it to express and communicate without boundaries.
Ng Xi Jie (Bindi) -(Singapore)
This whimsical and poetic tale of a circus visiting a village was dreamt up with people in rural Jodphur. Shot in three days on an old camcorder and using available materials, the film has a raw make-believe aesthetic. With a concept that further developed as relationships grew and ideas sprung up, villagers were cast as characters they created, in an invented world moulded into real, everyday spaces. Led by a Clown performed by me, the circus meets Grandma, Manisha, and Tarzan, dancing their way to the moon and back. The film shines a soft beam into the people’s cosmic inner selves, reflecting on their ethereal connection with the dry and vast Rajasthani landscape.
Ralph Barrientos –(Philippians)
(Made in collaboration with the children of Sarecha Village)
Magic Man is a non-narrative animated short created from different drawings collected from the local children of Sarecha Village.
The music for the animation also utilizes different unconventional and off-beat sounds produced by the village children.
Whistles, Random words, Goat calls, and banging on kitchen utensils, all combine together (along with some electronic instruments and synthesizers) to produce a unique ‘whimsy-folk’ soundscape.
For the culminating show in Sowing Seeds, The work is presented through two cubicles, the first one is a small area filled with a collection of some of the drawings used for the animation, and a second cubicle with a makeshift cardboard box television playing the video and sound.
The collaborative project seeks to plant the potentialities of imagination and creativity to both viewers and participants. It seeks to show how a single clap or whistle or a drawing of a bird, can turn into something bigger.. something more special, more magical.
Magic Man is a meeting ground.. of dreams, potentials, whimsy, wonder, cultures, tradition, technology, reality, and imagination.
Radostina Doganova –(Bulgaria)
The goal of my research in Sarecha was to find main features of the true face of Indian woman according to her social status and the recent transformations and changes in the contemporary society in Europe and Asia. During the two-week stay I tried to find the „female“ part, which remains hidden behind the beautiful clothes with painted flowers and shiny jewelry. Magical, arcane, painful and difficult process of exploring of convergence point, a meeting between me and her, between two completely different cultures, parts of european and asian world.
Indian women dressed as princesses, with decorations on the forehead, hands and nose, smile warmly in the brief moments when they look at me giving out love, kindness and dedication. In the next moment they rush to hide their faces behind chunari with patterns of Rajasthan…. They are beautiful princesses who do not dare to open their thoughts and feelings, who are not allowed to have dreams and to find future for thеmselvеs different from being mothers and wifes.
Where is HER identity? Who is SHE? Where is the border in between the rules of Indian culture and the soul of HER personality? On the front side everything is pink – magenta in the clothes, magenta in the skirts and chunaris and pink smiles behind them. In the background – with black thread are marked paths that each of HER has to go because it was destined before SHE was born. HER life is written by rituals, traditions, laws that are passed from generation to generation thousands years ago.
In my art work „Me, the princess“ I created the mаin features of HER face by using photos of girls of the village Sarecha, pieces of their colorful clothes and other materials as indian spices, pigments, ash and yarn received from the women. Also I used photos of my face before and after my arrival in the village, which reflected my emotions and how they changed visually my look in this completely different world.
I focused my research work on the portrait of Indian woman according to her female identity and sexuality versus mine portret as a woman of Europe. The main topic in the cycle of collages and paintings became the idea of HER portrait and my desire to find the primary self-reflection of my female identity in the context of local culture. During the art workshop together with the Indian girls we created “embroidered” drawings with their self -portraits as a first experience of representing human faces and especially HER face.
The last stage of the art work – the final result represents a series of pictures in mix media as a document of my feelings and thoughts during those 14 days spent with women in Sarecha. It is a kind of diary of collages, photographs and paintings which I installed (sew) on authentic antique Indian beds, arranged vertically in a circle.
I used the beds to focus the viewers’ attention on other aspect of the installation. The bed is a place where a woman is experiencing the most intimate moments as new starts and endings of the various stages of her life. A place where boundaries between her past and present were written – first wedding night, birth of the child, place for making love, dreaming and dying in the end. Her bed is her home, privat space, her intimity, thoughts and unrealised dreams. Her bed is her body.
The installation evokeс an imagination of a “temple” of beds, creating something like a semi room. It is a kind of temple of feminine identity in a place dominated by old patriarchal laws. At the same time, standing beds create a feeling of fence, a shield or a barrier to external inventions. It is a temple of of HER, of the feminine as the foundation of the family and the birth of new life.
Sonja Wyss –(Switzerland/Hollend )
With “The New Youth” I want to popularize the image of girls going to school. To demonstrate this I combined the use of the rules of propaganda imagery and hip youth advertisement. The young schoolgirl is showing her schoolbook to the world, proud and self-confident, looking into her own bright future. With the strength she sends out in this image, she knows, she will overcome all the struggles ahead and reach any goal she can imagine: anything is possible!
In another picture the girl stands on two motorbikes. She is demonstrating a position of power, unusual for a woman in India, being supported by two men. This stands brings to mind a human pyramid as seen in a circus. The boys on the motorbikes, in contrast to the girl, are looking at us directly. With their pose on the motorbikes and their forthright gaze, without any arrogance, they fully support the message of the girl.
A LIFE DAY OF A WOMAN ‘in Sarecha’
The life of a girl in Sarecha is a very predictable one. Married, as a child, even though she will not move to her husband until the distant future. The knowledge of having a husband and a future with a detailed framework of her duties, is a security for the girls this area as in most of rural India. Because of this tradition they don’t even consider other options, wishes and desires for their future. They fully depend on the tradition. Somehow this makes life simple. Without the choice to consider a different life they take life as it is without question. I was surprised to learn that they are not keen to go to school which I find prevents them of knowing of a different future. Most girls who go to school stop after a couple of years. When I questioned some of the girls and women on the views of their future they could not imagine breaking with tradition. This was impossible for them to realise.
‘A life-day of a woman in Sarecha’ is a video- and photographic work I started during the residency. It comprises of a visual impression, mounted in a loop, of the daily life of girls and women of different ages living in Sarecha, a rural village in India. The video is embedded in a song which women sing for welcoming a newborn child, sang by the oldest woman of the village. The spectator can interpret it as an impression of an Indian village through viewing the women’s daily life. It can be seen as the lifetime of one single woman in one single day, or as a old woman reflecting on her own past life, with images of her own life passing through her memory. This work demonstrates their life in one single place with little or no impact from outside the village, their structured same daily routine, day after day after day, again and again, being endlessly repeated a full lifetime.
MARRIED TO A PEACOCK
I was stunned by the stories I have heared in Sarecha about official marriages to a tree, object or in the past even to an animal. This is done to prevent a potential distaster in your future marriage which has been seen by reading your handlines and starconstellation at birth. To change such a destiny Indian’s marry their child to a plant, object or animal.
My work is loosely based on this tradition while exploring the lack of intimacy that existes in the premarital and marital traditions of India. The peacock can be seen as an animal or a human and demonstrates the difficulties of achieving feelings of love, longing and inimacy. Indian sense of romance is huge, as we learn from Bollywood films and traditional songs. I think because of the lack of intimacy before marriage makes the fantasie of romance richer.
In ‘Married to a peacock’ the young bride fantasize about love and intimacy and tries to win her beloved for her love. This video is underlined with the Rajastani song More Bore Re, about a girl winning the love of More. A word which means peacock but also symbolizes a lover.
Ahmed Helmy –(Egypt )
Nature & Humans’ daily life has always been my wellspring of inspiration. Art is a reflection of the human mind and spirit. And for that reason, my art is an expression of myself and the way I see things.
I had the privilege of being raised in a family who loved to spend time outdoors & in the countryside). As a child, I used to spend my summer vacations in traveling extensively to other places, in order to explore the rugged beauty of natural life. I developed a deep love and passion for the natural and human life.
Like most artists, there are several factors that have influenced my work “like my training through formal teaching or institutions and practice in exhibitions”. I wish my artworks inspires everyone to explore and appreciate the landscape and habitat around them to know them as interesting concept.
My interests in contemporary technology is due to the fact that it will be impossible to deal with contemporary issues, if we aren’t completely aware of contemporary technology. Art should rejuvenate the soul, uplift the heart, and bring peace to the mind. This world is a beautiful place.
Nikita Teresa / Nirupa Soman(India)
Sky of Identities
The project started off with interviews of the local children about what the markers of their identities were. The Ghunghat and the Pagdi emerged as two strong markers of gender and the young boys seemed to have a stronger opinion of it than the girls. This led to a discussion of ‘acquired identity markers’ and ‘desired identity markers’ and the role that conditioning plays in this. As the final installation, a ‘Sky of Identities’ was created which had face masks of children of the village – girls and boys. The masks were differentiated in terms of gender with a ‘Bindi’ for girls and a mustache for boys.
The artist intervention in these identities was that some masks that belonged to boys were given bindis and some masks that belonged to girls were given mustaches. The masks without these markers could not give away the gender of the person. Similarly, Ghunghats and Pagdis were created that were put on the masks arbitrarily. These could be removed by the audience and adjusted according to their choice. The idea was to question the garbing of identity markers and to let the children decide for themselves if they wanted these markers or not. The Sky of Identities was painted blue in accordance to the blue color that is associated with Jodhpur City and there were sugar candies adorning the wall like stars. This choice was made as during the interviews, the question ‘What is your dream’ seldom had any answers from the girls. Most girls were happy with what they had and did not ‘dream’; for anything more, except for One girl who mentioned that she’d like to eat a lot of sugar candies.
There was also a women figure created by using earthen pots that was placed in front of the wall. The woman was covered with photographs of a bharatnatyam workshop that was conducted by a co artist in Residency – Nrupa Soman. This figure symbolized the conditioning that is inherent in us due to ages of practice, and that we unconsciously take for granted and do not question. The derivation of all identities comes from this conditioning.
Manjot Kaur (India)
STARS FROM THE SKY, IN MARWARI PERSONA
( Site specific Land Art Installation and Paerformance in collaboration with a Marwari girl )
The Land Structure,
The Cow Shit
The Mysterious animal
Round and round on the
On the earth
On the land
Land of patterns of dug holes
Of the snakes,
Standing Structures =
Standing, the balance of gravity
Digging = Soil
Thinking and Looking
Just Above the soil
Indeed on it
Coming out of it
Specified material of the land
With the material
With the BABBOOL
HANNIYA Sookha Black
material of the Land
to the Land
air (through the movement of fire)
space (through stars)
the Land of MAARWAR
A MARWARI GIRL
with the step on the land,
my age = 26
but , 2 Kids
In a life cycle of
and the stars
Bhupat Dudi / Lalit(India)