Fundraiser Ended! This fundraiser ended on May 15, 2016
Contemporary Art meets a traditional village!
Contemporary Art meets a traditional village!
Desolate empty shops of a little village turned into 'ArtShops', i.e. artists workshops! A whole village turned into an arts gallery! A festival of arts for everybody, from local villagers to visiting art lovers! And all this live on Internet!
ShopArt ArtShop 2 is a conceptual arts event set in a small, pristine village, Gunehar, in Kangra Valley, HP. From May 14 to June 7 this year, numerous contemporary artists from around India and the world will live in this village and participate in a paid residency. They will be allotted empty shops and desolate spaces as their workspace and work on art concepts dealing with themes that attempt to transcend, through their work, the great rural-urban divide that exists in today’s India and indeed, the world.
The three-week residency will culminate in an exhibition (June 7-14) whereby the entire village will turn into a gallery of contemporary arts. The Art Festival-- or ‘Mela’, as the villagers fondly call it-- will see traditional villagers, urbanites and tourists come together to celebrate their creative unity. The finished art works will become the center pieces around which a whole cultural program with local ‘Mela’ elements, music concerts, performances, live shows, film screenings, podium discussions etc. will be held.
ShopArt ArtShop was first successfully held in 2013 with 13 emerging artists and their ‘ArtShops’, drawing 6000 visitors to the village and putting the village ‘on the map through arts’. The second installment, ShopArt ArtShop 2, incorporates different streams of thought and methodology into a wholesome, inclusive concept that deals with what an arts event can achieve in the 21st century if it is taken out of its usual cosmopolitan setting and related dependencies.
SA AS is unique because it not only, for a short while, reimagines a village but also gives the contemporary Indian arts scene a much-needed alternative. We believe arts must occasionally be taken out of the urban, gallery and market oriented space and set in open spaces and put in unusual contexts. For this purpose, SA AS artists are not only required to develop concepts that combines the traditional with the contemporary, but also work daily in front of villagers and visitors to make the whole process of creating arts transparent and accessible. A carefully planned Internet platform meticulously documents, demonstrates and archives the whole process of creation, plus allows ‘virtual’ visitors to ‘visit’ the village, engage and communicate with the artists as well as participate in the events. Finally, the whole event is taken out ‘on tour’ to cities in India and abroad.
THE CORE TEAM
Frank Schlichtmann: despite his German name, Frank is very much an Indian, who as an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) has decided to settle in India and run the 4tables project in this rural surrounding. He is the founder/initiator and curator of SA AS, but as he says: “being in a village, one must do everything, from writing letters to helping develop artistic concepts for SA AS to working hands-on with villagers on the numerous other projects. Here, if you want to sit back and ‘delegate’, nothing will ever come out of your plans!”
Ketna Patel: is an Indian-British pop-artist, whose work has consistently blurred the boundaries between Art, Anthropology and Activism. Her Singapore Studio is partnering in this year’s event. Ketna is co-curator, co-organizer and tireless advocate of SA AS 2. In her own words: “SA AS is a compelling social and creative experiment that I had been observing for, and been attracted to, for years. I am interested in exploring ideas towards an ideological shift. SA AS is borne out of that intention.”
Vandana Shukla: is presently Assistant Editor with The Tribune with a passion for arts and a deep concern for Indian arts in particular. As Chief-Consultant of SA AS 2, she brings in her immense knowledge as a researcher, writer and archivist of Indian arts and artists . Vandana says: “I believe that to develop a new arts scene in India, we need events in which the artist is not bigger than the Arts.”
Prachi Sibal: is a journalist, writer and social media enthusiast. As part of the SA AS team responsible for communications, she feels that “in today’s world, an event in a remote village does not need to be cut off from the rest of the world, thanks to Internet!”
Ksenia Bosak: is a wiz graphic web designer responsible for development and implementation of the complex netArt platform. “How exciting,” she says, “a virtual village which can be visited online! That’s what puts a village like this on the map!”
Suman Devi: is the star of the village, the 'woman-friday' who has a solution to every on-the-ground problem. A Bara Bhangali, she has made the 4tables project her mission. But she also says, "Arre Sir-jee, why do you have to do all these things? Aram karo na thoda!"
There are scores of you scattered all over the country without whom this would not be possible. You know who you are! Thank you!
Q & A
Conceptual arts in the context of SA AS?
You have heard of tribal arts, of basket-weaving and ‘teaching villagers handicrafts and skills’ (that they, by the way, already know/have). Conceptual arts, on the other hand, is considered something too theoretical, something ‘only for those who can’t use a brush straight’. For SA AS, these issues are obsolete. We believe that ideas (as in ‘concepts’) are the key to development, and arts the broadest possible creative expression of ideas (i.e. concepts).
OR WELL, who has ever heard of developing a village through contemporary arts or developing arts by taking it to a village? That itself is conceptual!
What does ShopArt ArtShop mean?
Gunehar was once a prominent economic hub on the trans-Himalaya caravan route. Today, it is economically marginalized. The number of new shops, build in anticipation of economic prosperity in the new market economy, have become symbols of a future yet to arrive.
By turning these Shops and desolate spaces into ArtShops, SA AS gives development an alternative interpretation.
What must SA AS artists do?
(From our artists brief)
SA/AS Artists need to:
-- Be personally present, i.e. accessible throughout the creative process
-- Make the process of creating Arts transparent and inclusive
-- Be aware of and understanding of global contemporary art trends
-- Be uncompromising in their work
-- Be integrative of rural folks and local themes in their work
-- Incorporate local materials and methods in their work
-- Be able to transcendent, through their work, all three levels: rural-India, urban-India and the global.
What are the ArtShops of SA AS 2?
We believe that each and every ArtShop must be rooted in the traditions of the location. For this purpose, our artists are encouraged to look into what the village offers and ‘take it out to the world’. In this way, for SA AS 2 we have narrowed down on following projects:
The Jazz-Nati MusicShop: explores possibilities of one of the most vibrant and beautiful local music forms, Nati, to ‘modernise’ by interacting with a group of modern Jazz musicians.
The Gaddi Fashion Shop: the beautiful costumes of our local Gaddi and Bara Bhangali communities are the starting point for a new collection by a modern fashion designer and village ladies.
The Miniature Painting-Graffiti Interface: A modern graphic designer explores the state of the once famous Kangra School of Arts and identifies the few best remaining artists of this school who then build a collective to repaint the Gunehar market square with motives of everyday life in the village.
The “One Rupee Cinema goes to Bollywood” FilmShop: has village children create a number of films in a workshop and take themselves and their films to Mumbai for feed-back by some of the Bollywood greats.
The Terracotta on the Wall Installation: large terracotta elements, burned in a specially made kiln, will be juxtaposed with local building materials like wood, mud, stones and incorporating the natural space and surrounding in 'architectural' plan.
The Film-Installation ArtShop: A number of 3-minute films made in the village, together with photography, sound and other multi-media elements.
From the Sky: A large scale landscape installation following the topographical lines of the village and surrounding which can only, in its entirety, be seen from the sky while paragliding.
The Pahari-Contemporary FoodShop: A FoodShop experimenting with local cuisine and fusing it with contemporary cuisine trends.
DEPENDING ON YOUR SUPPORT, WE WILL INVITE MORE ARTISTS TO SET UP ArtShops IN GUNEHAR!
How does SA AS work on the ground?
At this stage, we have prediscussed the concepts with the artists. Next, on 14. May, all our artists will converge in Gunehar and decide on adequate ArtShops for their projects. Artists are required to set up their shops, put up signboards, open shop and work in/from these spaces daily for the period of the residency. In this way, the once desolate shops and open spaces become ArtShops. These ArtShops then become the center-pieces of the village wide Art exhibition and “Mela’ that takes place for the final week.
Bring back the mela!
From the villager’s perspective, SA AS is nothing less than “bringing back the Mela” to the village. In earlier times, the largest Mela of this valley was held here in early summer. Villagers from the Himalayan interiors would mingle with tradespeople from the plains, exchanging goods, stories and ideas. SA AS revives this tradition in an contemporary avatar.
What else is in this for the village?
--SA AS revives the village by establishing Gunehar as an alternative destination associated with arts and meaningful living rather than mass tourism. The activities of the 4tables project, of which SA AS is a part, include a number of other initiatives that aim towards qualitative, non-destructive development.
--SA AS itself is, from the village perspective, a renovation and beautification project.
--SA AS provides employment and for the (empty) shop owners, income.
--SA AS exposes villagers to creativity, conceptual thinking and problem solving through interaction with artists and participation in projects.
--SA AS provides entertainment for villagers and interaction with visitors.
What are we doing now?
SA AS 1 has laid the groundwork for SA AS 2 by demonstrating, during the first event, that a concept like this can find great acceptance. Now, 2 months before the second event, we, both 4tables as well as villagers, are well prepared to host this event. The organizational side of SA AS is huge, though, and needs constant infuse of ideas, stakeholders, employees and volunteers.
To date, we have build our core team, managed to prepare the ground for the event, marked the appropriate shops and spaces, set up our website, advertised, screened and engaged artists, produced our crowd funding film and other PR material, reached out to media and the world, started designing the netArt platform... and much more!
What do we need the money for?
The first SA AS was entirely funded from Frank’s savings and income generated by the 4tables project, and all the work on SA AS 2 until now has come from the same source. To make a project like this sustainable, though, we must have a large number of stakeholders who contribute to take this event forward.
SA AS is a not-for profit enterprise; all the money raised will go towards the project.
SA AS 2 EXPENDITURE:
-- Artist’s Expenses (travel and transportation, living)
-- ArtShop Material Expenses
-- Shop Rent
-- NetArt Platform (development and implimentation)
-- Village Mela (stalls, stage, sound etc.)
-- Market Square Renovation
-- Hiring (short and medium term supporting professionals)
All expenses will be documented painstakingly on our netArt platform and accessible to everybody online. Remember, the SA AS mission is to make “the whole process of creating arts transparent”— this includes the economics!
Why contribute to SA AS?
-- Because you love arts and want to help create an event that put the process of creating arts at the center of its efforts and archives the whole process.
-- Because you want to help develop a village responsibly.
-- Because you believe that artist must be paid and not exploited.
-- Because you believe arts must be made accessible to everybody.
-- Because you love and believe in a modern, creative and innovative India.
-- Because you want SA AS to become a permanent fixture on the Indian arts calender showcasing Indian arts to the world.
COME JOIN US!
OUR SPECIAL THANKS TO YOU!
For us, you are nothing less than a ‘patron of arts’. Our incentives reflect this. We would love you to visit us during the event and see for yourself what your support has helped us achieve.
-- All contributors will have specially designed exclusive guided tours of the event during the festival.
-- All contributors can take part in our workshops. Yes, do also bring your kids along!
-- A list of all contributors will be published on our netArt platform.
Apart from this, we have thought of following incentives for you:
Contribute 500,- Rupees: get a poster of the event!
Contribute 1000,- Rupees: get a poster, signed by all artists!
Contribute 10000,- Rupees: get a poster, signed by all artists + a small limited edition artwork* created by one of the artists during SA AS 2.
Contribute 50000,- Rupees: get a poster, signed by all artists + a medium sized single-piece artwork* (approx. 60cm x 60 cm) by an artist + an invitation to stay at our own eco-village hotel** during the festival for 1 person for 2days/1night*** + all meals in our restaurant.
Contribute 100000,- Rupees: get a poster, signed by all artists + a large single-piece artwork* (approx. 80cm x 100 cm) by an artist + an invitation to stay at our own eco-village hotel** during the festival for 2 persons for 3days/2night*** + all meals in our restaurant + a tandem paragliding flight over the venue to see the Sky-Art
* Art-works of different sizes will be created by our artists for this purpose. All art works will be numbered and distributed according to a lottery system // ** Our Hotel website: www.the4roomshotel.com // *** If you are unable to come during the event, you can visit us thereafter. The ‘voucher’ will be valid until 14. June, 2017.