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Kaman Art Foundation
c/o Bhupat Dudi Near Ram Gadi
Kaga Area Jodhpur, Rajasthan
India 342001
tel: +91 9314 722 004     
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Sowing Seeds (Beej Bonna) 2010
Date: 17 Dec - 30 Dec 2010

Indian daily life style

Colourful nuances of life unexpectedly shade the slow-paced rural India even in this information age. Along with numerous small and big grass fields, several mountains and swinging trees, the chirping birds hum the tale of languishment and love to the big and clear blue sky, giving a mesmerizing, captivating and bewitching effect to the villages in Rajasthan state of India.

Village life is a mixture of several moods, such as tranquility, harmony and innocence. The participants are the flora, the fauna and the humans. Camels lazily chewing on fodder, a boy gathering his cattle – goats and cows considered the real wealth are sights. While one may see a woman milking the cow early morning, there are many women who walk few miles to and fro just to fetch their daily ration of water from the nearest river. A maiden wearing a colourful swirling skirt and blouse walks by, wearing sandals or sometimes barefoot, carrying on their head a pot filled with water, a basket full of vegetables or dried sticks used as winter bonfire. Their sense of dressing is simple, unique, and colourful. Bangles worn on each wrist match their outfits. A round bindi on their forehead symbolizes the Indian beauty.

The women spend a lot of time helping around the house performing their daily chores. When cooking in the open, they indulge in small banter that brings life to their daily routine of cleaning, washing laundry, looking after their cattle and children. Present seems to catch up with them as cement ovens have replaced the more traditional mud ovens, though the fuel remains the same - coal, cow dung cakes and dry wood. Evenings are filled with folk songs, sung by these groups of women while they engage in churning fresh butter from the milk pot to pass their time.

The tweeting of countless birds is a rare mellifluous music to the urban dweller’s ears. An occasional song fills the air with sweet melodies. One can trace it to the radio blare in full volume at the ubiquitous tea stall round the corner, serving piping hot tea in the cold. People, young and old huddle around the man selling tea, asking for more. Small and medium shops dot the main road, selling groceries, vegetables and other necessities for a living. These shops extend inside their humble homes, which are out of bounds to the outsider, unless you are their guest. Even guests are ceremoniously welcomed in this village called Andore respecting the Indian belief, “guests are like God.” The auspicious ceremonial rituals involve a conch blowing, garlanding the guests with marigold flowers and applying a red dye called “tilak” on their forehead that makes Indians proud for their hospitality.

Everyone is an artist here at village Andore. The women use clay, cow dung and hay to make beautiful patterns on the mud walls. Ornamental traditional motifs are painted on their front door, windows, cupboards and kitchen walls that display their zest for life. But most villages also have specialized traditional artists, well-known as sculpture artists, terracotta artists and potters. They create decorative as well as utility items, using century old skills. These artists also make colourful and native clothing that identifies their community. However, like any other village influenced by waves of economic challenges, they cannot afford to indulge in artistic pursuits to satisfy their creative urges. Besides this, they also lack awareness and knowledge of contemporary art practices. Hence they work with art for commercial purposes only, using art just for their living. This has resulted in a drain of indigenous, cultural and traditional talent.

Their necessities of life are minimum and not materialistic like the urban dreams. There are times when the services of various castes and communities are required to provide customary ritual goods that form part of the traditional ceremonies and practices. The traditional artists like potters also contribute their services. This can be seen in religious and spiritual practices, and occasions such as weddings, child birth, welcoming guest, death, local fairs and festivals. Villagers find their rhythm and happiness by expressing themselves in these different facets of existence. Even social beliefs find company in their colourful traditional customs and behaviors, which paint a complete picture of this genre called ‘life’.

Unlike the artists, the youth are slowly being exposed by the media influence and economic changes in the nearby cities of Jodhpur, Jaipur and Udaipur. These big cities are their window to the world, a world that fuels their youthful dreams, desires and aspirations to be a part of this contemporary world.

Rural Art

The art forms being practiced in villages are inherited and have been passed down for generations. The prevailing village social structure in the form of caste system also does not permit villagers to choose professions as per their choice. Professions are hereditary, related to their castes. There are potter castes, weaver castes, etc. Their next generations also practice the same traditional jobs. Though it did provide them with job security in ancient times, as services of their castes could be evoked in times of festivals and religious occasions by the upper caste and rulers, there was practically no scope for a transformation in design, form, application and meaning.

Rural art is still commonly practiced during social gatherings. It is limited within a boundary, stuck to religious and social traditions only. It is limited to objects of daily use, such as wooden ornamentations, door decorations, terracotta pots, metal and stone objects etc. Though the possibility of new forms exists, the villagers have not been open to this idea of experimentation. For example, rural art if mixed with symbols, forms or ideas, generated more meaning. Limitations are ideas and experiences. Generation gap, lack of awareness of contemporary revolutions in art forms combined with rigid ways of life have proved to be the limiting factors in design development and evolution of rural art.

Rural art has to undergo a metamorphosis to become contemporary art in a contemporary way. Therefore a change is needed with time. Thoughts, positive energy, and attitude can bring about changes. This will also lead to social development process in the villages.

Through this medium of rural art, “Sowing Seeds”, intends to create conscious awareness about the environment, and the issues that concern villagers and their surroundings in relation to the contemporary world. Art is a medium to express these issues, but if the contemporary art process is communicated in their own language, it effectively addresses their sensitivities. The messages do leave an impression on their minds.

Contemporary artists are limited to their studio spaces. A platform like Sowing Seeds intends to expose the artists to the village world where social development is the need of the hour. Through the medium of art, it intends to show new ways to the village artists to practice traditional arts with the help of contemporary ideas. Artists are encouraged to define new ideas, use locally available objects and raw materials in their creation. This exchange of ideas with limitless communication methods would generate awareness and when practiced, would bring about a social revolution in the form of social development.

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