Monday, June 15, 2015

Open Studio Soulmates (Within Time) 10 - 16 June Movin'Up prize GAi - Giovani Artisti Italiani Residency : 15 May - 16 June 2015 6.30 pm - 9.30pm 16 June 2015 Clark House Bombay

Open Studio  
Soulmates (Within Time)
10 - 16 June 
Movin'Up prize GAi - Giovani Artisti Italiani  Residency : 15 May - 16 June 2015 
6.30 pm - 9.30pm 
16 June 2015 
Clark House Bombay 

Lisa Mara Batacchi has been a collaborator with Clark House since 2013, when we participated in programmes curated by her in Florence. Medium often have sexual associations, and such can be said of knitting, a practice seen unpopular, time-taking and predominatntly associated with an older female middle-class, Batacchi thus introduces designs into the weave of wool which reinstates the belief of the 'immateriality' of medium - the connotations and associations of it use. We have invited Batacchi for a residency and final open studio on the May 16th She has worked in collaboration with the Gormati Banjaras, who have worked traditionally with weaving and knitting and now live as manual casual labour in the slums of Bombay. We hope to support a programme of public outreach and exhibition that sees Batacchi collaborate with the Bombay community during here time she has worked a paper artisan Bhavesh Shukla, Kritika Balsane a weaver and Clark House member Poonam Jain in a project that is conceptualized along with Italian artists such as Giancarlo Norese and Lapo Binazzi (UFO). In an art context where the conceptual is often exploitative, Batacchi reaches the realm of the avant garde and the contemporary by including the least spoken within the arena.
Clark House Initiative 

Lisa Mara Batacchi with Sita & Keshu Chauhan Family  and Poonam Jain at Clark House 

Reema Gehi ,  Mumbai Mirror June 14 2015
A social artist from Italy meets her match in Ambedkar Nagar's Banjara colony to tell the story of life in embroidery.

Ensconced in the tony neighbourhood of Cuffe Parade is Ambedkar Nagar, home to 7,000 members of the Gormati Banjara tribe from Karnataka. Most of the men work at the near at hand Sassoon Docks, while some of the women make their livelihood as domestic helps. But Sita Chavan, 37, adds to her family's income by preserving the nomadic community's textile legacy. She spends most of her day at a sewing machine in her cramped home, stitching the ghagra-cholighungat matha for the women of the tribe. On the day we meet her, she is dressed in a printed saree, its appeal nowhere close to the mirrorwork embroidery the Gormatis are famed for. "Unfortunately, we now reserve traditional wear only for big occasions," she says. On one such occasion last week, she picks a white ensemble scattered with colours of the Indian flag. Together with husband Keshu and daughter Surekha, she is readying to make it in time for the opening of Italian artist Lisa Mara Batacchi's solo at Colaba's Clark House Initiative (CHI). 
Soulmates (Within Time) partly tells the story of a craft Chavan and her ilk have mastered. On the mezzanine floor, an installation of tiny mirror pieces pay ode to this legacy. Two costumes, a collage of patchworks created using knitting and cotton strands (with intricate embroidery) gently stitched on plain cloth, hold pride of place at the alternative art space below. "I share an old tryst with textile," says the 35-year-old, giving Chavan a warm hug. More than a decade ago, Batacchi was pursuing a dream job as research and design assistant at luxury fashion houses, Prada in Italy and VivienneWestwood in London. A "life-changing" Christmas break in 2003 to Cambodia had her reconsider her career. "I met the happy faces of kids who create these luxury clothes in abject poverty," she says. "I came back different. I couldn't go back to that desk again." 

Batacchi quit fashion and enrolled at The Florence Academy of Arts, shifting her gaze to social art. "After seven years, I had the urge to feel fabric again," she says, gradually integrating textile into her work. Recently, on receiving a grant from a reputed Italian institution, Batacchi chose to work in India. CHI curator Sumesh Sharma and colleague Zasha Colah, who had carried out a comparative study on the Banjaras of India and the Romas of Europe, back in 2012, suggested Batacchi work with the Gormatis in Mumbai. One Sunday morning a month ago, Sharma and Batacchi arrived unannounced at Ambedkar Nagar, meeting a group of Banjaras who led them to Sita maushi. "Sita's mirrorwork and embroidery are quite extraordinary. She is Ambedkar Nagar's go-to artisan," says Batacchi, who eventually collaborated with Chavan on intricate embroidery on strands that made it to the exhibit. 

Blogger Badshah Naik calls Banjara embroidery "strikingly different". In a post, dated 2010, he writes, "Featuring geometrics and eschewing the floral and animal motifs used in the majority of Indian villages, Banjara embroidery is strikingly different. The viewer's eye is drawn to bold squares, triangles, circles and irregular shapes, all delineated in brilliant contrasting colours. All Banjara embroideries are designed for a nomadic life. These are multipurpose clothing and dowry pieces, not large wall decorations like those made and used by settled village people in most Indian regions." Chair professor at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Contemporary Studies, Dr Chandrakant Puri, concurs. "The Banjaras have a unique dressing style. The women wear skirts and a short cloth drawn across the shoulders, usually red or green in colour. In the skirt border, double lines of cowries (shells) are sewn. Their blouses are embroidered and small pieces of glass are sewn into them. Strings of beads are worn around the neck. On their arms, they wear 10 or 12 bangles of ivory, lac or horn," he explains. 

Now predominantly settled in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the Banjara footprint in India is ancient. According to William Crooke in his book, The Tribes and Castes of the North Western India (1896), the first mention of the Banjaras in Muslim history was during Sikandar's attack on Dholpur in 1540 AD. Sion Koliwada resident Kiran Chavan, who belongs to one of 85 families that live in the pipe line house slum, defines his community's origins as "untraceable". The 22-year-old student of Vasantdada Patil College of Engineering, says, "Our language Gormati is similar to Marwari, because of our association with Rajasthan. Banjaras from Maharasthra are known as vanjari or inhabitants of the forest. Nobody here ever discusses our origins, though." "Originally," explains Puri, who is also Chairperson of the Indian Nomadic and De-notified Tribes Development Council, "they transported salt and grain on bullocks to distant places. In the process, they migrated to areas where business was flourishing, including Maharashtra and Mumbai." 

The newer settlements in the city, including Kalyan and Badlapur, experts see as a result of migration on account of drought in Marathwada and Vidarbha. Mainstream history, reckons Puri, written often by privileged historians, undermines the origins, life and struggle of excluded groups. With the community's kids learning local Indian languages, their dialect of Goar boli, which doesn't have a script or recorded history, is gradually fading. 

Caught in a moment of transition, Banjara culture then finds a fitting voice in Batacchi and Chavan's alliance. 
Reema Gehi for Mumbai Mirror 14 June 2015

Lisa Mara Batacchi  is the Winner of the award “D.E.M.O. Movin’ Up II session 2014” 

General Direction for Landscape, Fine Arts, Architecture and Contemporary Art
General Direction for the performing arts
And GAI - Association for the Circuit of Young Italian Artists

Read more:

Zied Ben Romdhane wins the Prix PopCap 2015 at Art Basel for the Children of the Moon
13 – 25 June 2015
Hours: Open 24/7
Theaterplatz Basel 
Image Afrique is an annual photography exhibition created with the aim of redefining people’s perceptions of Africa and offering a stage for African photography. Five outstanding photographic projects from international photographers are on show at Image Afrique as part of POPCAP.  The prize consists of global exposure at major international photography exhibitions such as POPCAP exhibitions at Image Afrique in Basel, Switzerland, in cooperation with LagosPhoto Festival in Lagos, Nigeria, and at the FIFCV Festival Internacional de Fotografia de Cabo Verde. We will be inviting all winning artists to our Image Afrique Show during Art Basel, Switzerland. 
POPCAP, the prize for contemporary African Photography is being held for the fourth time in 2015. It is directed at photographers whose work engages with the African continent and/or its diaspora. The prize consists of global exposure at major international photography exhibitions. POPCAP aims to raise the profile of African photography within the arts. Each year five winners are selected by an internationally-sourced panel of judges, enabling the promotion of African photography worldwide and helping to avoid geographically and culturally one-sided views of the portfolios. Due to its extensive application in a day-to-day context, we consider photography to be the ideal medium through which to foster an unhindered exchange of ideas about the image of Africa.
Filipe Branquinho – Interior Landscapes , Zed Nelson – South Africa – After Mandela, Tahir Carl Karmali – Jua Kali, Zied Ben Romdhane – Children of the Moon, Romaric Tisserand – Ultramar ( Empire Travel Club)

Amani (10) can only go out to play in the street after the sun has set Ariena, Tunisia

Children of the Moon

Xeroderma Pigmentosum, or XP, is a genetic disorder that affects the ability of skin cells to repair the damage done by ultraviolet (UV) light. This means that UV light can easily cause burns, cancers, and other skin malignancies. In extreme cases, those suffering from XP have to avoid exposure to even the smallest amount of sunlight, and even be wary of artificial sources of UV light— such as neon tubes and some energy-saving fluorescent lamps. The necessity of complete avoidance of sunlight has led to individuals with the disease being given the nickname in French of Les Enfants de la Lune (Children of the Moon).

Cancers caused by XP usually develop between the ages of two and ten. Without protection from the sun, a patient is 4,000 times more likely to develop skin cancer than other children. Life expectancy of those who live without protection is less than 20 years. The condition is caused by a recessive gene, which means that both parents must have the gene for XP to manifest itself in their children. A couple giving birth to one baby with XP has a 25 percent chance of having another child with the disease. The incidence of XP in newborn babies worldwide is one in every 300,000, while in Tunisia it is one in 10,000, and in some regions of the country up to one in 100. Part of the reason for this is thought to be intermarriage between cousins, which is still traditional practice in some areas. Lack of public awareness of the disease is also a contributing factor.

Zied Ben Romdhane 2014 Tunis 


Clark House Bombay : 'Soulmates (within time)'/ Lisa Mara Batacchi - preview.
11 June 2015 
6 - 10 pm  

Bull and Bird ,  5.5 inch by 7.5 inches , Krishna Reddy ; Early 1950s printed 2015 by Nikhil Raunak

Clark House Initiative
A Presentation by Nikhil Raunak

Tuesday, June 9, 7pm
Asia Art Archive in America
43 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
$5 suggested donation
Please RSVP here

Clark House Initiative is a curatorial collaborative and a union of artists based in Bombay. Established in 2010 by Zasha Colah and Sumesh Sharma, it is located in a building that was formerly an office of pharmaceutical research, an antiques store, and the shipping office of the Thakur Shipping Company that had links to countries in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Japan. Curatorial interventions in the space hope to continue, differently, these histories of internationalism, experiment and research.
Please join us for a presentation by Nikhil Raunak
​artist member 
 of Clark House Initiative. He will reflect on the 'Workshop Model', a method of engaging with public and regional institutions in India. This model was developed by Clark House Initiative, with Anant Nikam at the printmaking studio of Sir JJ School of Art, and acknowledges the legacy of the workshops of the artist and pedagogue Krishna Reddy.  
Nikhil Raunak (b. 1988) is a multi-discipline artist 
​ ​
 who graduated in 2011 from Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay in painting and printmaking 
​. ​
 Raunak is also founding member of Bombay-based artist collective 'Shunya'. Shunya, meaning 'void', is used to define a mathematical concept of nothingness. The title explains a beginning from a point of neutrality. Shunya was formed in 2012. Raunak is a recipient of Inlaks Fine Art Award 2015 and participated in numerous exhibitions including Arranging Chairs for Ai Wei WeiICU-JestKochi-Muzirius Biennale 2012we have arrived nowhereTransnational PavilionVenice Biennale 2013, and INSERT-2014 Mati Ghar New Delhi 2014.

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First of the Clark House Krishna Reddy-Judy Blum Fellows, Nikhil Raunak will began his residency in New York this April for 3 months, during which he researche and used the studio facilities at Flux House 2. The residency is supported by Judy Blum and Krishna Reddy for young artists to come live and practice in New York. Raunak will archive Reddy's drawings and prepare a project on experimental printmaking through his interactions with Reddy. Nikhil Raunak (1988) often works with cryptic codes that critique conceptual practice in the arts, inventing languages, creating videos and drawings that all stem from his study of graphic printmaking and portraiture.  
Bull and Bird , was a Copper Plate was made by Krishna Reddy was trying to experiment with various carving tools. The bull is accompanied by a small dead bird carved under. The plate was lost and was then returned by Reddy's student Mark Johnson who found it at the New York University and he returned it to Judy Blum and Krishna Reddy. Nikhil Raunak collaborated with Reddy to print 22 editions of line etchings from the plate which had never been published before.


Gulf Labor Artist Coalition

Letter from sixty+ curators, critics and museum directors to UAE art institutions, and their affiliates

June 1, 2015
Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Tourism Development & Investment Company, Abu Dhabi, UAE
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York, NY, USA
New York University, New York, USA
New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Agence France-Muséums, Paris, France
Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
Art Dubai, Dubai, UAE
Recently, artists Ashok Sukumaran and Walid Raad were denied entry to the UAE on grounds of “security”. This comes after NYU professor Andrew Ross was similarly barred from flying to Abu Dhabi in March. Sukumaran and Raad have a long history of vital and sustained engagement with the UAE, often on the invitation of your institutions. Ross is a professor of standing in New York’s academic community. It appears that the reason these three members of our global arts and academic community were denied entry to the UAE is their involvement with the Gulf Labour Coalition.
As you know, Gulf Labour is an artist-initiated group that has been active since 2010, asking museums and institutions being built on Saadiyat Island to create better conditions for their workers. These conditions of the creation of a cultural world should be of concern to us all, and the proposals of artists in this regard should be seen as a matter of debate, not of “security”. We assert that artists and academics should be allowed free passage to conduct research and work that is done in a peaceful and productive manner.
We the undersigned oppose the barring of Ashok Sukumaran, Walid Raad and Andrew Ross from the UAE. We state that denying artists visas, stopping and deporting them after years of their work in the region, creates a chilling precedent and makes it difficult for arts and academic institutions in the UAE, and those working with the UAE to claim regional dialogue and artistic freedom. We urge your institutions to work with the concerned authorities to lift these bars on their travel.
Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of Exhibitions, Tate Modern, London
Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator International Art (Film), Tate Modern, London
Andrea Thal, Artistic Director, Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo
Anne Pasternak, President and Artistic Director, Creative Time, New York
Anselm Franke, Head of Visual Art and Film, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
Anton Vidokle, Founder, e-flux, New York
Bartomeu Marí, Director MACBA, Barcelona
Beatrix Ruf, Director Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Carin Kuoni, Director, Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School, New York
Charles Esche, Director, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
Charles Guarino, Publisher, Artforum Magazine, New York
Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern, London
Christine Van Assche, Chief Curator-at-Large, Centre Pompidou, Paris
Claire Hsu, Founder-Director, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong
Defne Ayas, Director, Witte de With – Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam
Dennis Lim, Director of Programming, Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York
Doryun Chong, Chief Curator, M+ Hong Kong
Emilie Villez, Director, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris
Eva Franch, Chief Curator and Executive Director,  Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York
Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Fawwaz Traboulsi, Writer and Historian, American University of Beirut, Beirut
Franck Gautherot, Co-director Le Consortium, Dijon
Geeta Kapur, Critic and Curator, New Delhi
Glenn Lowry, Director, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Hammad Nasar, Head of Research & Programmes, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong
Hila Peleg, Curator, Documenta 14, Kassel and Athens
Iftikhar Dadi, Professor, Department of History of Art, Cornell University, New York
Jean-Marc Prévost, Director, Carré d’art, Nîmes
Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Raqs Media Collective, New Delhi
Jenelle Porter, Mannion Family Senior Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Jill Medvedow, Ellen Matilda Poss Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Jitish Kallat, Artist and Curator, 2nd Kochi-Muziris Biennial
Kate Fowle, Director-at-Large, Independent Curators International, New York
Kathy Halbreich, Deputy Director, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Koyo Kouoh, Artistic Director, RAW Material Company, Dakar
Lars Nittve, Executive Director, M+ Hong Kong
Laura Raicovich, Director, Queens Museum, New York
Lucy R. Lippard, Critic and Writer, Galisteo
Maha Maamoun, Board member, Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo
Mai Abu El Dahab, Director, Young Arab Theatre Fund, Brussels
Mami Kataoka , Chief Curator, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
Maria Lind, Director, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm
Marie Muracciole, Curator, Director of Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon
Marta Kuzma, Rector, Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm
Nancy Adajania, Cultural theorist and independent curator, Mumbai
Natasa Petresin-Bachelez, Independent curator, editor of L’Internationale Online, Paris
Nato Thompson, Chief Curator, Creative Time, New York
Negar Azimi, Senior Editor, Bidoun, New York
Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate, London
Patricia Falguieres, Professeur à l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris
Pooja Sood, Director, Khoj International Artists Association, New Delhi
Rana El Nemr, Board member, Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo
Ranjit Hoskote, Cultural theorist and independent curator, Mumbai
Sabine Breitwieser, Director, Museum der Moderne Salzburg
Sebastien Delot, former Modern and Contemporary Art Curator of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Head of the Collection of The Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain Saint Etienne
Seungduk Kim, Co-director Le Consortium, Dijon
Sharmini Pereira, Director, Raking Leaves, Sri Lanka
Sheena Wagstaff, Chairman of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, Metropolitan Museum, New York
Solange Farkas, Director/Curator, Associação Cultural Videobrasil, Sao Paulo
Sukhdev Sandhu, Film critic and writer, New York University, New York
Sumesh Sharma and Zasha Colah, Clark House Initiative, Mumbai
Sunjung, Kim, Artistic Director, Asia Culture Information Agency of Asian Culture Complex, Gwangju
Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, Managing Trustee & Honorary Director, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum, Mumbai
Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore
Vasıf Kortun, Director of Research & Programs, SALT, Istanbul and Ankara
Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh, Vice-President, Arab Image Foundation, Beirut

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