Conceptualised by Archana Hande
In collaboration with Afrah Shafiq | Amritah Sen | Gayatri Kodikal | Madhu
Das | Mansi Bhatt | Paroma Sadhana | Priyanka Jain | Sachin Kondhalkar
We live in a world where there is more and more information,
and less and less meaning. -- Jean Baudrillard
When the word ‘tradition’ is defined as a ‘transmission’ – of beliefs,
customs, livelihood practices, stories – that is passed down significant
number of generations, it begs a few questions. Questions such as – how long
must this practice have been transmitted for, for it to qualify as
tradition? Does the acceptance of tradition also simultaneously erase the
question of self-identity?
In a world that is increasingly shutting its doors on anyone who is willing
to ask these questions it is incumbent upon us to find keys to these doors.
Tradition, or practice, is not cyclical wherein, like Sisyphus, we are
doomed to push the rock up the mountain only to find it roll down the other
side so that we can start all over again. There is an originating point to
all practice, to all stories, to all beliefs. Tradition, as it is understood
today, then becomes a smokescreen through which we cannot locate its origin,
and yet remain mesmerized by its long history of association – if this was,
then it must be so.
As we try to clear the fog and understand the root of tradition itself, we
inevitably stumble upon the path of history – of humans recording their
existence. In other words, we stumble upon stories upon stories upon
stories. Some written down, some spoken to, some sung about, and some
illustrated for. And each tale of history dictates the way of its world.
A story, that when juxtaposed with its historical counterpart doesn’t merely
become another layer for history and/or tradition; but instead obstructs the
path of narration. A story that lays bare the possibilities of
origins and of conclusions.
The Artist holding to their studio practice and method of storytelling –
using a known/unknown technique or developing an ancient technique or an art
form to construct a fictional story in any form. The story, which leads to
unfolding the superstitions or myths of, so-called long-standing ‘Pratha’ (practice)
which can be mistaken as a tradition. Unknowingly we do develop a language –
which later becomes restricted to rules and regulations. Some older forms /
techniques are still relevant but some are followed just in the name of
maintaining the practice.
A Sutradhar has the responsibility to string the gaps together. It could be
fiction / non-fiction, reel, reality, rumor, myth; the form could be the
story or the story is the form. A story narrated through practice – which
also addresses these confined spaces.
‘I am Sutradhar’ is to string the pieces of a story together that
doesn’t conceal, but reveals the bandages of norms that mummify us. Yes we
preserve through tradition, but are we alive?
Afrah Shafiq (b.
Bangalore - Mumbai –Goa
Afrah Shafiq lives and works in the world of documentary film, visual art,
multimedia and web projects sometimes as artist, editor, writer, designer
and at other times as a manager, producer and facilitator. She has a special
interest in animation, digital illustration, and collage.
Amritah Sen (b.1973)
Calcutta – Kolkata
Amritah Sen studied
art at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan with painting as her specialization. Ever
since receiving her MFA in 1999, she has been practicing as an artist based
in the city of Kolkata. Amritah has shown her works frequently in group
shows across venues in India, Europe and USA. She has also done nine solo
shows till date in Kolkata, New Delhi and Mumbai and has participated in
different art fairs including Dhaka Art Summit, India Art Fair and United
Art Fair. She has done residencies in different South Asian countries with
her own projects and also participated in research projects organized by
Khoj Kolkata, Art Ichol, M.P. and NexUs Kathmandu. She currently specializes
in book art, and is the co-curator of ‘Things Lost/Remembering the Future,’
a series of pan South Asian art shows. She has been a finalist of Sovereign
Asian Art Award 2018.
Gayatri Kodikal (b.1984)
Bangalore – Mumbai – Goa
Gayatri Kodikal draws her inspiration from esoteric sources of documentary
and archival material. She started her practice in experimental film and
sound design, and is currently working with game and playful media. Her work
is anarchival (the
question is how what moves an event into taking form can be archived, as
opposed to documenting the content of the event),
decolonial, leading towards the ghosts and futures of feminine identity. Her
education in psychology and film/video pilot her curiosities and adventures
in artistic research with a flavor for science fiction. She also holds a
certificate in film preservation and restoration praxis.
Madhu Das (b.
Chitradurga – Bangalore – Mumbai
Madhu Das received his BFA from College of
Fine Arts, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bengaluru and an MFA from S. N.
School of Fine Arts, Performing Arts and Communication, University of
Hyderabad . He was the recipient of the Inlaks Fine Arts Award in 2015,
shortlisted for Emerging Indian Visual Artists by Delfina Foundation, UK, in
2014 and visiting fellow artist at the Harvard South Asia institute,
Apart from his solo show "Work in Progress"
at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bengaluru (2009), Madhu has been part of
numerous group shows. His works have been shown at the Harvard South Asia
institute, Cambridge,USA (2017), HH Art Spaces, Goa, India (2017),The
Curriculum by Creative Time Summit in partnership with ArtOxygen& Studio-X,
Mumbai (2015), The Conflicted Issue of Change and Urbanism – a compilation
of video art curated by Gayatri Sinha at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum,
Mumbai (2014), Sarai Reader 09, curated by Raqs Media Collective at Devi Art
Foundation, Delhi (2013) and the first edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale
(2012). Most recently, Madhu was artist-in-residence at Bamboo Curtain
Studio, Taiwan (2018), HH Art Spaces, Goa, India (2017), TIFA Working
Studio’s Artel Residency, Pune (2016). He has also been part of the Sarai
Reader 09, Devi Art Foundation, Delhi (2013), Sethu Residency, Theertha
International Artists Collective, Colombo, Sri Lanka (2010)
Mansi Bhatt (b.1975)
Bombay – Mumbai
Mansi Bhatt is a contemporary artist working within the challenges of
performance and photography. Graduated in the year 2000 from sir J J School
of Art in painting, she then received a fellowship by the Mumbai University.
Her art has been shown in India and abroad in galleries, museums and other
art spaces including four solo exhibitions and several residencies in India
and USA and group shows in various parts of the world including the Mattress
Factory Museum of Contemporary Art, Pittsburgh. She was nominated for the
Skoda prize for contemporary art in 2010 among the Top Twenty Indian
Contemporary Artists. She has also been invited to prestigious international
Biennales like the 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012, Vancouver Biennial 2014 and
most recently the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016/17. Her performances in public
realm address the politics of complex human behaviour and open up larger
questions to society.
Along with her art practice she has also been teaching at Kamla Raheja
Vidhyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies.
Paroma Sadhana (b.1986)
Delhi – Mumbai
An alumni of School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, Delhi, Paroma
has over 7 years of work experience in the cultural sector of Bombay. She
has previously worked with Majlis Culture and was part of the five-year-long
Cinema City project that sought to enquire the interstices of the city's
history and the cinema industry. She led the research into single screen
cinema theatres, a subject on which she edited and published a slim volume
titled "Cinema Theatres in Bombay/Mumbai: A Dossier". As part of the project
she was actively involved as a researcher, writer, artist, producer and
She has also freelanced as a writer/editor and some of her recent projects
include writing chapters for a book on the built heritage of the MMR region;
research and writing for Sunjoy Monga's new book on Water; and writing and
editing work for WWF.
Paroma's interests range from urban studies, filmmaking, video art to animal
Priyanka Jain (b.1985)
Calcutta - Kolkata – Gurgaon
Priyanka Jain achieved her BFA from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata in
2008 and attended the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, Germany
between 2008-2015. She has received Scholarship from the Konrad Adenauer
Foundation and from the Art Foundation of the State of Baden-Wurttemberg,
Germany. She has exhibited at the Kunstverein Konstanz, Kunstverein
Hechingen, U-Centre for the Arts in Dortmund, Literaturhaus Stuttgart in
Germany and has held art performance at Goethe Institute in Kolkata.
Priyanka is interested in
oral and visual storytelling, has undertaken research on oral arts in Kenya
and is a member of the Illustration Research. She has published two artist
Sachin Kondhalkar (B.1981)
Bombay - Mumbai
Sachin Kondhalkar is
a visual artist based in Mumbai, India. He graduated in Drawing & Painting
from L.S. Raheja School of Art in 2005. Since then he has been working as
visual development artist for film. His practice mainly involves painting,
illustration and video.
Archana Hande (b.1970)
Rourkela – Mangalore – Bombay
She holds a B.F.A & M.F.A in print making, from Viswa-bharati, Santiniketan,
and M.S University, Baroda. She
has participated in many international and national group shows along with
few solos to her credit. Co-Curated
‘Project Cinema City’ 2012, Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Berlin. She has
been involved in few research projects. Along
with her art practice she has also been teaching, designing and
photographing for books.
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