SAISA – Art Festival @ ASB, Mumbai

From the 3-7 February 2016, 8 people from OSC were chosen to go to the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India, for a visual arts workshop based upon the theme of justice. I decided to go because I love making art and experiencing art, and I hoped to experiment and enjoy the importance of creating art while sharing that experience with others. I wanted to be exposed to an environment where I would grow as an artist even without taking the Visual Arts IB course. 

  The guiding poem for our workshops in Mumbai was:

“later that night
I held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.”

― Warsan Shire

The first day was the first time I saw Mumbai, we were brought to the school and took a bus and saw the many faces of Mumbai streets (3/02/16).

Gallery Visits (4/02/16)
The second day in Mumbai was dedicated to gallery visits. It was amazing to get to know Indian contemporary & modern artists located in Mumbai.

We went in our workshop groups, which helped because I found that many of the galleries had mixed media and different use of new media in some interactive way. We saw artists exploring media such as photography, cloths, traditional painting, sculpture, and video.

The first gallery, Where the Wind Blows by Prajakta Potnis, had used a rotating film that was projected onto the wall, persuading  you to stay and watch what was happening (see below). We even visited a gallery detailing the issues of sexual abuse in India and it was a full room where on all four walls, there were many screens depicting a wide array of text and images relating to the issue. That gallery especially had a huge impact by setting up this way, as if we could not look away from the consequences of it. The header of this post is part of Jitish Kallat’s Sightings series which was a depiction of different fruits through a microscope printed on lenticular paper, where from different angles you would see something different. I really wanted to explore this idea of multiple perspectives and a change, especially in the context of justice. 

SOME PIECES FROM THE MUSEUM WE WENT TO

IMG_6887

A mural outside a gallery near Rhythm House

Workshop (5-6/02/16)
My workshop for SAISA Art was New Media in Art, and we had many, many different new tools in order to make art. What was important because we had all the resources and tools at our disposal, we needed to come up with a concrete idea and the rest, we would be able to figure out and explore the possibilities. There were motors to make things move, different LEDs,a 3D pen, etc. These let us explore ways in which to make our artwork interactive for the viewer.

(PHOTOS © ASB PHOTOGRAPHERS)

I had a lot of difficulty to come up with an idea on the first day of the workshop. I think I was half overwhelmed by the amount of resources I had, and half overthinking the message. On the second day of the workshop, after around 5 scrapped ideas, all using motion sensors, laser cutting, LEDs… it was complicated but the message seemed to be lost. I managed to combine all my ideas into one concise one, based on my trip to Jaffna only a week earlier.

I used the laser printer in the school to do so. I’m grateful for Claire (another workshop member) & John (workshop leader) who helped me understand and work the laser printer! I hope our school can invest in a laser printer soon!

Although the machine failed at the last minute and engraved my drawing off center, it wasnt too noticeable. Overall I wanted my message for the piece to be about how justice works in terms of seeing only in terms of victimizer and victim. I used two acrylic sheets, one opaque red and the other slightly translucent dark red. Justice might be perceived differently in the case of Jaffna, after our visit I felt that there is a blurred sense of justice and people may have different views on how to ‘deliver’ justice to the area post-war. I created two faces of tigers to show two possible perspectives of many of the Tamil people in Jaffna. I tried to incorporate how the use of language when describing a situation or group of peoples can change perceptions greatly in the stripes of the tigers.

Exhibition (Stencil, Traditional Painting, New Media in Art)
It was great to see a variety of artworks produced on the same theme of justice.

(PHOTOS © ASB PHOTOGRAPHERS)

We spent the last day exploring Mumbai in the mall with the OSC Badminton team before finally departing (7/02/16).

Overall, I appreciate all the time I spent at SAISA Art because it was a rediscovery of what I love to do and the process of art. I think I always found art to be difficult but with this experience, I learned to accept that it is okay if it is complex and it takes time. Overcoming those hurdles in the last day was nothing compared to the supportive friends I made and the learning I gained (about myself and about different technology I can use to create art), who also shared a passion for art! I hope I have another opprotunity to experience this again. 

Week Without Walls – Jaffna Narratives

 

This Week Without Walls (WWW), a week organized by our school and teachers for students to leave the classroom for a week, I chose to go to Jaffna, in the north of Sri Lanka. The civil war only ended recently in 2009, but its interesting to think about how much has changed since 6 years ago. We were given preliminary readings which I spent a lot  of time reading because I knew very little about what happened.

I remember when I gave news of moving to Sri Lanka, my old teacher had told me it has a rich and interesting history. I never thought to explore what she meant. The trip was packed with a lot of activities and required a lot of thinking and reflection, so these readings and knowledge helped me in forming some ideas and a better understanding of Jaffna and its history. The whole trip allowed us to think about the history of Sri Lanka and of Jaffna in particular.

Itinerary
Day 1:
Flying to Jaffna, Bus Rides, My First Hindu Temple, SOS Village
Day 2: Buddhist Temples, Hindu Temples, Ferry Rides, Jaffna Fort, Good Ice-Cream

Day 3: Early Morning Temple, Jaffna Public Library, Temple Carver, SOS Village Revisted
Day 4: Goodbye Jaffna, Hello Mannar, Sunsets on the Beach, Bonfires

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