This week, Chitramayee at State Art Gallery transcended the conventional notion of an art gallery where work is merely displayed, to one where they can be seen in the process of creation. The Kalanirvana International Artists Residency held this week saw the State Art Gallery being converted into a studio for ten artists from ten different countries and ten Indian artists. According to curator Ashis Pahi of Kalanirvana, the residency is a platform for artists to absorb different cultures. “We’ve picked ten artists from ten different countries so that they will bring with them their culture, perspectives, problems and aspiration and share it with the local artists as well as each other.” For this reason, he picked attendees not only based on their artistic providence but also their ability to represent and communicate their culture. “India has so much to offer, if we can convey this message to these artists, they will take it back with them. That’s what this residency is about,” says Ashis. We had a chance to observe and speak to some of them.
I have used Korean rice paper to create texture. There is natural texture and artificially created structure. The first one is inspired from an elephant, the second one symbolises a child and the one I am working on now… I don’t know.
Clemens Begunkun, South Korea/Vienna
I have a long history of working in India, I have been mentored by an Indian artist for many years and I also curated for the Kochi Biennale, just for the open program; Bose Krishnamachary invited me. I work with creating new mythologies for women as platform with women’s writes. I have created a character, Dolly Girl and I insert her into history and mythology and she rewrites them to be feminist. I have curated in India but this is the first time I’m ever actually working here. There is a lot of exchange of ideas and I’m seeing many different kinds of work.
I feel I have become more open after coming here I have not yet found words to describe my experience in India , I have already felt so much, they are all fragments in my mind and I think I will see the whole only in a few days. I am so inspired I have cancelled my return tickets.
I am from North Cyprus and I work for the Department of Arts because I believe art and culture is powerful. When I received the invitation, I was so excited because I have been wanting to come to India for long. In the last three days, I laughed a lot and I am finding what I came searching for. I have travelled to many countries but I am sure there is no place like Hyderabad, and no place like India.
This is my first time in India and I am very happy to look at Indian culture and Indian colours. I define my art as expressionism or ‘fracta reflection’. Its about capturing a moment, whether it is from looking at a city or listening to a story and putting it on the canvas. I have interacted with Indian artists on social media but I am happy to meet some in person. When Turkish culture mixes with Indian culture, a new culture is born.
I immersed myself in books about India before coming here. To me, India houses the five major religions of the world. The Himalayas for me is the backbone of the country, the banyan tree is the symbol of buddhism, and this border is to me is the symbol of Krishna. This is India through my eyes. I spent the last few months taking care of my ailing mother and sister so for me, being here is like a huge cathartic release, especially to be among these beautiful artists who all share the same likeness
David C. Mendoza, USA
It’s been so lovely. I love the country and its people. This is not my first symposium, it helps me make friends and gain experience of new cultures and traditions as well. My paintings are abstract figurative. I am here so I wanted to make paintings about India, about her villages, about women workers. I have seen pictures before and I also made some observations on my way here.
Fadia El Khatib
Morocco and India are very different but the spirit is the same. I’ve been here for just three days and I feel like I have been here for months. When I want to paint I close the door and stay in my workshop for hours for days so being here, dealing with such different working conditions, I have to experiment with new techniques, something that goes with these new conditions, you will see that the concept may be the same but there is something very different about it.
My paintings always symbolize love - friendship, relationships, god, motherhood...it’s all about love. The last three days have been wonderful, everybody is from a different world but we all speak the same language. I’ve lived in Goa for seven years. I came here fifteen years ago, and the first step I took out of the Delhi airport it felt like a homecoming; my life changed since.
All my paintings talk about women and their role in the world. I feel a relief when I put bright colours on the canvas, I don’t like greys and blacks. Yesterday my friend called me and said “ Don’t eat this, don’t touch that” and I said “ The food here is delicious, people are good and life is simple and beautiful.”