Sowing Seeds 2009
(International Artist Village Residency)
Aditi A Kulkarni(India)
“Sowing Seeds” artist village camp was an open platform to explore the limitations.
It was a great experience to live in beautiful village of SAR. I was curious to be part of it and I felt the tenure at SAR, lived like inside out. The people of Sar were friendly and we all were overwhelmed by there? Moreover for me it was like acquainting in the given conditions and experiencing the distinctive and relative differences and similarities.
Being on a cultural and colourful background of Rajasthan it was chance to open up with the new environment. It was a platform to share Indian contemporary art with the international art and establish a correlation and future collaborations. It was interesting to work and interact with the villagers, local and international artist and to understand their culture, living conditions and mind-set apart. The presentations by the artists were informative to get a brief about the art scene around the globe. The discussions with the group and with the individual artist were effective. It was good experience to see how the artists reacted in the given situations and developed their works. The best part of the workshop was that it was not about the individual work but about the group of artist who worked together in a camp.
Initial days were like all exploring the place and project ideas with different points of views. There was lot of energy and discussions happening at the camp. The presentation of our previous works and discussions with the artist were remarkable.
During the residence it was also an opportunity to explore SAR. It was interesting to go around the village, local houses, conversations with villagers, understanding culture, exploring different local materials, travelling on a cycle, visiting the lanes altogether an exciting event. The presentations about the art given to villagers, introduction to them about the technology of art was intriguing. It was a good platform for me to explore and experiment with fun element. We got complete freedom to work in the way we wanted which I was looking for. The enthusiasm was at its zenith as the open day approached and the village people of Sar who had seen the process of our works happening came to the exhibition place in Jodhpur. The project I did in the sowing seed workshop was an installation, more of a process started with a potter, a carpenter and a tailor projecting a perspective which I think I achieved due to the contribution of Sowing seed organizer, all the helping hands, fellow artist friends and people of Sar. The sowing seed workshop was a success as we all became a global family.
For me the work started with more of a process. It was improvisation with the surroundings. I chose to work with the local artisans- a potter, a tailor, a carpenter and some villagers who were keen to paint. I started developing my concept with the questions evoked.
The brief of the workshop was rural and contemporary. I believe it depends upon the point of reference for an individual to decide what is rural and contemporary. So I choose to connect with the perspective the rural and the contemporary. Perspective was my key element. It was an experience how differently everyone in the village camp thought about perspective and came up with different set of logic. With potter it was about form, with the carpenter it was about simplification, with the tailor it was about stylisation.
About the paintings done with the villagers it was seeing the design detail into minimalist forms and elements from making a canvas with local material to drawing on it, which worked as perspective. I have been working with the series “Parallel Dimension”. It was about the seen and the perceived. I like to work with the elements and completely projecting them in abstract form and to loose the meaning associated with a particular element and keep it open to the viewer.
One person says something to another; another individual interprets it differently, thereby igniting the spark of miscommunication. Why was there a miscommunication? Either because the sender did not try to communicate his message at the same wavelength of the receiver, or the receiver did not try to interpret the communication message at the sender’s wavelength.
I am behind the sculpture titled “Lets communication”, which represented the flaws in the communication process that lead to miscommunication. The tubes at the ends of the sculpture represent the different wavelengths and frequencies at which humans tend to communicate, perceive and interpret messages that are sent and received. According to me, it is up to us humans to find and match the correct wavelength with the other individual who is the sender or receiver of communication and thereby make our existence hassle free and coexist with people of diverse cultures from all parts of the world.
The Sowing Seed Camp in Village SAR was a great opportunity for me to get to know the Rajasthani village people really close, to learn and understand their living situations and their attire. I started to compare those clothing habits with other folks and surprisingly I found similarities. The inhabitants worked very close with us, and have been incredibly open and friendly. This camp gave us the opportunity to interact with the village community. We were warmly welcomed and found true friendship.
To exchange with international artists from different backgrounds like mine was another fruitful aspect of this project. For example the conceptual work of Terue Yamauchi or Vagaram Chaudhary, which they did during the time in the camp, inspired me very much.I believe that all of us will always remember the Sowing Seed Camp.
While I was living in southern Africa I got to know the nomadic tribe of the Himba in Northern Namibia. These people still live in a very traditional way and are relatively untouched by the western civilisation. The various clothes, hairstyles and jewellery the Himbas wear give exact information about their social position and their personal situation. This pure form of fashion as an instrument of communication was what drew my interest as a fashion designer and photographer. I lived with the Himba tribe for several months, and studied their rites and clothing customs and made photo documentations.
Colour symbolism in costumes is a very interesting aspect of the dressing tradition in Rajasthan. The use of colour is widespread in almost all kind of Rajasthani attire and ornamentation. Throughout history colour has held an important aspect in Indian culture and Rajasthani costumes are no exceptions. This extensive usage of colours in these garments has important cultural, religious, and climatic associations. Each colour embodies complex and significant connotations in that particular time, space and region. It is also derived from India’s ancient dyeing and batic history and techniques.
In India colours are closely associated with emotions. They are an important mean of conveying moods, seasons, religious values, customs and ceremonial occasions. Rituals and ceremonies are marked by varied hues, each representative of particular traditions. Even today colours in Rajasthan are used to identify communities and social status of the individual.
Everywhere in the world, where barren deserts dominate and the burning sun prevents the natural colours from blossoming, people have balanced the absence of colour with the grandeur of their clothing.
Comparing the clothing traditions of the Himba tribe in Northern Namibia and the Rajasthani surprisingly I find parallels such as the accessory married women wear on their foreheads: The Himba women wear a head piece in the shape of horns, made out of leather, and covered with a dried mud made of the grounded red stones, which they find in there region as a symbol of their married status. The Rajasthani women wear the tikka or bore (boria) on the upper part of their forehead as a sign of marriage.
Search for Energy
This sculptural creation of Chiman represents the search for sources of energy and the attempts that can be done at the village level. Around the globe, a major cause of discontent among people is the availability of future energy resources. Every country tries to sustain itself and meet the challenges of the developing world with its energy resources. Today, in the 21st century, there are chances that nations can even go to war over energy resources.
Unfortunately, today the conventional sources of energy are dwindling all over the world and the search is on for non-conventional abundant, inexhaustible, non-polluting, cheap and efficient sources of energy that can sustain the human race in the long run.
Chiman’s sculptural creation is an inspiration to the simple village folk of Sar that sends a strong message to look for alternate energy sources within their means and harness it to meet their energy requirements, without being dependant on the outside world. With a little help from technology, Biogas as a fuel can be the locally available alternative source of energy. It is cheap, not much polluting as well as inexhaustible and affordable.
The sculpture is created in the village Sar, with 5000 dried cow dung cakes, 16 feet in height, with a circumference of 10 feet.
It shows us the way to look for simple, non complicated, practical and innovative techniques of using resources, so that we leave a better world for our children.
Judit Hettema (Netherlands)
The Sowing Seeds project have given me the opportunity to see and experience the Indian culture from a different point of view. This helped me to loose my western point of view on this eastern culture.
The traditional and cultural habits and rituals ,as well as the colours and use of materials have been a big inspiration for me. In this project the travel is strongly attached to my working process.
My work is about the representation of spaces. I use different media such as photography, video and installations and work with an abstract, social and architectural way of looking to the world. In my work there is an interest in spaces and places from different cultures. Also my interest in colours, structures, patterns and reliefs and spatial shapes can be seen in my work. These elements I have been looking for in the Indian culture and country.
For this project I photographed some interiors in Sar Village, out of which I created two small sketches for new photo works. Also I made together with photographer Corina Gertz a group portrait of the village women covering their faces with their saris. Simultaneously I created a layered portrait of a woman covering her face with several saris. The notion of light, time, colour and covering or showing is being questioned in these works.
Lucrecia Pittaro (Argentinina)
While working with the “Under Pressure Project” at the Sar Village, I was really excited to work the people living here and inviting them to take part of it. When I explained to them the idea of my work, I could see how the whole concept was flexible enough to be understood in different ways by everybody, no matter the cultural background or geographical context.
During my experience at Sar, I have been working on two pieces. These were based on two of the photographs that I have selected among the repertoire of portraits that I have done of the people in the village. With a dimension of 120cm x 180cm, I’ve worked in both pieces with Rajasthan Natural Pigments, which are available only in this area. The patterns, together with the faces, are related to what the protagonists of the photos comfy to me as being their biggest fears. For example, in one case it was the fear of lacking of water. Since we are in a desert region, this is an important issue that worries most of the people living in the village. The portraits were thought to work together as a diptych. The pattern in the lowest part of the composition joins both paintings and concerning the main figures, they work in two opposite directions towards the outside. This way of representation is another means of leaving the series open for further intervention and for different interpretations to relate with as well.
At Sar I had the chance to work in my paintings at one of the villagers house. What I appreciated the most was the fact that I became an active participant of the everyday life of the house. While working on my paintings in one area of the courtyard’s house, a very intimate and personal dynamic was established. Even if we spoke different languages, we got to a point where it was possible to communicate in different levels. This complicity was the result of just being around, each one working on our daily life and personal activities and most important, sharing our ways of seeing life.
As an Argentinean Artist and Fashion & Textile Designer based in Paris for the last years, I’ve been working on my own artistic project called: “Under Pressure”.
The main idea is rooted in the fact that we, ourselves, are the creators of our own psychological pressures. I begin by taking photographs of people and asking them to show me their faces as disfigured and unrecognizable as possible. The goal is to arrive to get their portrait showing their faces in a different way. Starting with the photo and then proceeding to a large format painting, what I intend to do is to put in evidence the idea that we are always trying to justify our fears, our anxieties or our insecurities by relaying on external factors, but I think that in the end we are all victims of our own inventions.
For the past series of painting, the idea is to combine in the same piece my work as a textile designer and my work as a painter. By merging these two different, but complementary, aspects of my artistic work, I’m at the research of an esthetic and conceptual entity that will give me the possibility to express myself in a more complete artistic approach.
Maria Rebecca Ballestra (Italy)
What happens when you have the opportunity to experience the beauty? An Authentic beauty…not artificial…the beauty in the smile of a child, the beauty in the gestures of a young woman, the beauty in the eyes of a proud old man… a little seed is sown in your soul … a seed that contains happiness and freedom …
This seed can remain the same throughout your life or you can grow it every day and discover after years to have a tree inside of you, able to offer shelter to your friends, able to be firm in difficulties, able to be green and beautiful for those whom you love …
… All started from a tiny seed …
One of these seeds it’s what the people of Sar Village and the workshop “Sowing Seeds” have given me, something more important than a new experience of art, than the opportunity to discover a new culture or meet nice people, it gave me the opportunity to plant a seed in myself … the opportunity to understand, to observe, to reflect, to learn, to listen …. to undertake new visions and inner path …
Archeological Memory of Rain….
Archeological Memory of Rain is a site specific project realized during the workshop “Sowing Seeds” in Sar Village (Rajasthan- India)
The project want investigate the problem of desertification and its consequences in the rural area, as Sar Village.Dry lands occupy nearly half of Earth’s land area. Across the world, desertification affects the livelihoods of millions of people who rely on the benefits that dry land ecosystems can provide. Therefore, desertification is one of the greatest environmental challenges today and a major barrier to meeting basic human needs in dry lands
Desertification takes place in dry lands all over the world. Some 10 to 20% of all dry lands may already be degraded, but the precise extent of desertification is difficult to estimate, because few comprehensive assessments have been made so far. Desertification has environmental impacts that go beyond the areas directly affected. For instance, loss of vegetation can increase the formation of large dust clouds that can cause health problems in more densely populated areas, thousands of kilometers away. Moreover, the social and political impacts of desertification also reach non-dry land areas. For example, human migrations from dry lands to cities and other countries can harm political and economic stability…
The site specific project is composed by pieces of broken potteries, used by the women of the village to bring and storage water. The pieces of potteries, collected by the artist during the workshop, have been placed in a desert area near the village with the intent of create an archeological site with the memories of the village concerning rain.
A lot of villages as Sar, will disappear in the near future because of the scarcity of rain. In the last two years the rainfall in Sar Village was irregular and scarce, causing a reduction of 50% in the agriculture production. The cost of food increase a lot and the majority of the family can just produce food for themselves. They have to buy water from other part of Rajasthan and they don’t produce enough agriculture products to sell in the market, becoming more and more poor.
On each fragment of pottery the people of the village have written messages about the rain, prayers to the god, dreams but also proposal of solutions as plant new trees or organize how collect the water.
Nilesh Shidhpura (India)
As an artist i always love to work with different craftsmen. At SOWING SEED camp i got this opportunity to work with local –Craftmen. For my first work which is call CELEBRATION, I choose to work -with” macha “(traditional bed)weaver.after interaction with artisan-I came up with triangle weaved structure with bamboo and colorful rope. which represents the colorful state of Rajasthan.
My second work was kind of video installation which is call -MOTHER & CHILD – I choose 11 mothers with their child and ask them to paint traditional motifs which they use to paint on walls of Their houses during marraige occasion or festivals during this activity i ask -them to sing traditional songs and took a video. mother & child relation is – very important in development of any society in the world . this work is based on this universal truth.it was great fun working with local villagers.
Rajesh Pullarwar (India)
Releasing of anything gives the satisfactions. Releasing of the sadness is crying, happiness by laugh, dance. But often releasing anger turns into violence. People keep anger inside, which comes out as destruction. As it is said that energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, it merely gets transferred from one state to another. Anger has lots of energy. I interacted with people to let go of their anger which they had inside. They were happy to break the pots of colours with their anger. Releasing urine, stool, cough, sperm, sweat from our body always give us happiness. So it is when we release our anger, I wanted us all to be happy…
DON’T WORRY b HAPPY!
is the title of the work in the Sowing Seed International workshop at Sar village in Jodhpur. I put dry vibrant colours in unfired mud pots with the small stars. This type of mud pots are used to release the ashes of the dead in rivers as per Hindu rituals. I used these pots to symbolize the anger with death/ destruction.
As the interpreter breaks it on ground with anger, energy of anger is discharged in different patterns depending on the particular person. The inner vitality took a spontaneous shape and pattern with the vibrant colours. The output of anger turned into coloured visuals.
Vagaram Choudhary (India)
Activity: A Thought Provoking Game
Costs of living are escalating day by day in a developing world. People in the villages are affected as much as people in the metro cities. Social practices could be followed in the days gone by very humbly as they were affordable, and easy to execute. However, in today’s times, some traditional social practices can be a drain on the family resources and thus a burden. Fear of being ostracised by fellow community members prevents them from raising a voice as they blindly follow traditions that drive them to bankruptcy.
One such example is the traditional practice of “Shradh ceremony”, or the “Passing away” ceremony in the villages of Rajasthan which is very popular. When a family member expires, the family holds a 12 day ceremony. On the 12th day, the bereaved family holds a feast for community members. The community members are invited from nearby villages. Each household sends a family member and thus the number of unrelated members visiting the grieved family could be between 1200 to 1500 members. It can be a burden on a poor family. Children may also be married of as the ceremony involves feasting and huge expenditure is incurred anyway. This is a classic case of a social problem in rural society which believes in holding on to its age-old traditional practices, but ends up being its victim.
I belong to the same community and through my concept of the game, tries to open the minds of my fellow villagers who are religiously and blindly following a tradition that can cause more harm to a family’s integrity and wellbeing.
I hereby justify the play of polling and show my deepest concern for this regional issue. A traditional practice must be retained, but it needs to reinvent itself with the changing times in order to survive in this developing world. Else, it could be a liability and have devastating consequences on the society at large.
Importance of the “Shradh ceremony” and its Drawbacks:
Shradh is an important ceremony as it helps to divert our mind in different directions after the death of a dear one.
However, everyone does not have the money and the resources all the time. Irrespective of the financial status of a family, they are forced to hold the ceremony, by borrowing money from unscrupulous money lenders, an act that could jeopardise the existence and future of a family.
This is a curse on a society that is largely agrarian and where everyone does not have the capacity to hold such extravagant feasting ceremony.
My concept is a play by which I am trying to explore the minds of my fellow community members with an intention to make them think whether the rituals and process surrounding the “Shradh ceremony” benefits them and society, or is a burden. I try to find out what people think about this tradition of Shradh ceremony and also hopes to subtly pass a social message that will provoke them to rethink about this practice.
The Play: An Unusual Way of Polling
The polling game is conducted to find out if the community members support or despise the ceremony as well as their thoughts.
Most people voted, however, there were also some elderly people who refused to vote as they supported the existing system. People wanted to keep their plates upside down so that their votes could not be visible to others of their community.
Terue Yamauchi (Japan)
Before participating in the camp, a village life in Rajasthan was something unimaginable and for that reason, I felt privileged to come to India for the first time and to have such an opportunity to explore and challenge the unknown in the unique environment. What I found most inspiring, during the time in SAR was the diversity of people I got to know, the way they are and their attitude towards living, all different and unique, that showed me wider possibility of how life can take place.
Staying together in one particular place for certain period of time, sharing food, shelter and experience, I got to know unique character of each artist that is reflected on the way they work and the way their life has been, speaking of how we all ended up in this small Rajasthani village, choosing to do what we do.
The people of the village SAR are, just like their lifestyle is, simple and straight in their respective manner. They welcomed us into their homes, into their everyday universe with no hesitation but openness and hospitality that made our communication and exchange possible by something other than spoken language.
I believe that in the end, I managed to share certain level of intimacy and connection with the land and the people that the whole experience, even in the middle of a hectic day on the other side of the world, continuously gives me warmth and courage to go forward, to go further from where I am.
overall dimensions vary with installation(Photocopied prints of palms, threads, plexi-glass)
As a way to contact people individually and share personal moments beyond one-sided relationship of being a guest and a villager, I began my project by visiting individual homes in the village to ask for their participation, to physically take a print of their palms with a line called “lifeline”, that in the palm-reading tradition, represents ones vitality and the length of ones life. My intention was to work with elements and materials available in the village to create some kind of a landscape that connects individual lives as well as generations, while at the same time showing difference in condition of each palm; the variety of individual lives.
A collection of palm prints, including ones from the participating artists, reflects a particular moment in the village, while implying more abstract scale of time; a lifetime.
All the lifelines are stitched together as one connected line by many different people including children of SAR and fellow artists, with threads taken out of leftover fabrics of clothing worn by the villagers, acquired from a local tailor. The stitched line, in some parts straight and even and in other parts winding and irregular, shows a personal touch of individual hands involved in the making, which is the essential element that gives the work “a once-in-a-lifetime” texture.
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