Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Notes on Migration          
Exhibition by Jyothidas K V & Sarojini Lewis
Dates 14-04-2017 to 20-05-2017, opening 13th April 6.30 onwards
Clark House Initiative Project Room

From one…two…three…
How many breaths have we counted?
As many as waves of the sea
As many as sands of the shore

Dark clouds, storms, waves, fevers, winds
The unending sounds of the seas
Frothed in our mouths was salt,
Expanse of the sea and sweat

With the land which appeared
After the never ending sea,
A relief
Upon which they built us
A new belief

Sea, land, relief, belief

Certain memories of migration transcend the border of nations and geographical distances. In particular, the narrative of indentured labour migration from various regions of India. Contract workers were recruited largely from UP and Bihar during colonial period from the mid 18th century until its abolition around 1917, a hundred years ago. Surinam was one destination colony ruled by the Dutch where a ‘multicultural society’ was constructed by means of various migration streams that were brought in according to the required skills of laborers. The memories that people brought from various countries to Surinam remains in oral traditions, stories, literature and archives and form resources that we explored for new interpretations. A memory as such is not bound to one geographical location but could exist simultaneously in various locations or meeting points.
            Close to the city of Dresden in Germany there is an almost forgotten ethnological museum in a village called Herrnhut. Archival Photographs and objects from the archives of Herrnhut missionaries in Germany documented the migration in early 20th century in Surinam.  Besides the photographs a set of objects presented the Indian community of Surinam. The missionaries returned this material to Herrnhut accompanied by different diaries describing the live of Hindustanis. The personal encounter of this collection and the act of holding the objects and while documenting, resulted in a series of self-portraits. Here identity is linked to various histories and geographies of migration in a playful meeting between body and object. What does it mean to have the same migration roots as the object?
Questionable is the origin of these objects and whether they made the same migration as the Indian community that migrated.  The veil held by the curator of the museum also connects to the photograph of the woman who is wearing a similar veil in Iran. This could be displaced in the collection and its possible misinterpretation leads to the idea that sources of objects could be beyond the interpretation of memories of migration.
Another set of memories come from a year long migration as a teenager to a Bhojpuri speaking village near Mariyahu in Jaunpur, U.P. Memories of evening walks through the expanses of sugarcane fields and the huts where farmers used to make jaggery remain vivid images. Sugarcane and the know-how of its farming was one of the reasons for recruitment of indentured labour from the region 120 years ago.
We are connecting personal memories with the larger history of migration to see how these memories have cross overs.  This collaboration intends to simulate a ‘melting pot’ in which we reinterpret these transnational character of memories.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

In Visible, the Invisible

Collaboration with the girls of Flying Birds NGO Delhi & Jyothidas KV

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Stone Landscapes of Burning Stars; Redefine and Camouflage
-The Curatorial defined by Actions Collaboration, Performance and Video.
An unfamiliar road, the Sumos on the slippery tracks, an exhausting bus journey. Several directions of roads through forests some of them have check points. Mud covers the front window we drive forward blindness. A tire got punctured at 3 pm in the night on the 28th hour bus journey from Guwahati to Agartala. The swirling roads made me dizzy and the night before I had been throwing up because I could not digest the momos with pork meat. Yet, at the end of the road I arrived at an unfamiliar city that opened up a new narrative.
“The conversations with students who are artists and artists who could be possible students.“
Different perspectives through stars at night. Playing with the city lights.
We formed groups within these formations new thought processes were created.
As a curator I was the participant of this collaborative thought of what yet had to come. Sometimes the dying murdered women, sometimes the chef mixing up visuals, sometimes an unexpected scream, sometimes just breathing in fresh air and writing a note. Sometimes mute, observing, a student.
The politics of the space reappears as a visual trace in the landscape as a mark of ink written on the body. Without emphasizing on political issues of the North East states the dialogues evolves, naturally expressing things in subtle ways, secluded in the personal studio space or a tree house. Something not served as a ready-made statement, one has to discover traces by spending time with the displayed work.
We were listening to the description of the memories of a student. Slowly the words transfigured and we all felt the intense lightness of his memory that flowed together with the wind caressing the leaves visible from the tree house.The sound flowed together with the city sounds that we could hear from the top of the hill. I thought of the city as a sea I had dived into and from this tree house we heard the waves of sound breaking on the shore. I felt amalgamation of thoughts as materials, empty papers that with the touch of writing and slender movements produced various visual scribbling, later this transformed into performances and video works.  

Sometimes a scream was disorienting and confronting me with clashing characters. Lost in diverse routes and roads the potential of different projects never have ended and broke this geographical barrier. Something new was born and these different thought processes could be sustainable somehow. After residing in Kochi, these experiences captured with video and photography were edited in new forms and visions with a team of four people- Nupur Nanal, Radhika Murthy, Renuka Soraisam and Lalthlanchhuaha. In this way, setting up the works as well as editing the works of 51 persons from 5 states- Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur- has been a collaborative process as well. Using this method, the format collided with the way the material was created in the first place. The work stays in continuous flux of different thoughts. New initiatives within this rich cacophony of sound and visuals projected on the walls of Kottacherry Brothers are deriving from the North East to the South.

Performance Sarojini Lewis & Meet during the Student Biennale in Kochi 2016

The politics of the space reappears as a visual trace in the landscape as a mark of ink written on the body. Without emphasizing on political issues of the North East states dialogues evolves, naturally expressing things in subtle ways, secluded in the personal studio space or a tree house. A long the video installations in Kotacherry Brothers created by students and artists of the North East we would like to invite you to the soundscape of Meet combined with the diary like discriptions of Sarojini. The poems Sarojini Lewis evolve around a specific window view and were mostly inspired by the house were she resided in Imphal. The soundscape of Meet are created by the sites of the old warehouses in Bazaar Road with each space their different histories. The visual poetic space inspired by the window view collide with this soundscape. this The performance will start off in Kotacherry Brothers and than be carried on to the MK Traders were Meet created a soundscape for the exhibition in collaboration and curated by Adwait Singh. 

Start 20:00 pm 18th December Kotacherry Brothers continued in MK Traders

Curatorial text made with 15 curators during the Student Biennale - Kochi Biennale 2016

Monday, December 05, 2016

Unexpected Blue

These photographs feature encounters  in a South Indian village and are part of the created poetic narrative with the indigo-blue fabrics.  These continue to be produced through the same processes as during the VOC (East India Company Trade) period, using natural indigo. Within the process the different tones of blue are created when dyeing the fabrics in big fermentation pots containing natural indigo.
The fermentation is a sour smell and the pots are buried underground with only the head of the pot sticking out leaving a round gap that opens up like a mouth. The pots are to be fed with food cooked upon the fire. The pouring of liquids, the collection of ash and water,the cleansing and bleaching, including boiling of the yarn and fabric are sounds that accompany the visual material.  .One can listen to fragments of sounds as a part of these scenes, creating ‘unexpected moments.’
On exploring new materials such as yarn first seen lying in the pots, they appear as dark blue creatures. Later dried in the sun and covering my body while I sit beside the indigo stained water. The blue threads layers themselves like strings of seaweed, hiding my face.  The landscape with the burned palm tree’s created a potential situation for the staging of an intervention, in which I wrapped the soft fabrics showing prints of tropical palms around the black burned palms.  Who were the personas and figures from the archives and could they be symbolized by the shapes of bodies hidden by the same material?  The story of the workers at the village and factory The Colours of Nature is something that left me with unanswered questions. The history of the place remains mysterious. New machines and technology where left untouched. The old method of the pots buried underground and natural indigo was where the workers often resided and dyed the cloth by dipping it in and out of the pots in the heat and September’s moisture in this South Indian village Auroville.