What constitutes an art space? Galleries? Auditoriums? Parks?
How about an art space which moves and allows you to move through it? Pune Biennale Foundation did some out of the box thinking to bring to the city some unique architectural spaces which will be transient, thereby exapnding the field of art, spatially and temporally. These spaces are either artworks themselves or such that contain artworks. In and around the Deccan area of the city, one can witness and experience these creations and installations.
Not only is the space itself unique, but also the variety of materials that it is made of. Using such a medium, these interesting architectural forms offer a truly unconventional manner for creating as well as viewing art.
Migration is intrinsic to all living species. The earth belongs to all. All belong to the earth. To Be AND NOT To Be is the question.
The wanderings of animals, birds, insects and humans across the earth’s landscape have been perennial; an intuitive seeking of amelioration in their lives, an upgrade to greener pastures, as it were. While birds and beasts still roam free, these wanderings for earth’s people have been subjected to borders and strictures that have not only constrained, and divided the human race, but ruthlessly eliminated millions of people through generations of conflict and wars arising from it. And from this devastation and uprooting emerge complexities of boundaries, identity or loss of it.
Yet, the human species continue to migrate, as dictated by economic compulsions, climate change, war and its repercussions of displacement. There are also forced migrations; horror stories of girls disappearing from homes and transported to other regions for commercial exploitation. For the privileged in society, migration is a process of paperwork and patience.
For the less fortunate, migration is a desperate need and struggle for sustenance, often crossing several borders on foot, through shipping containers or by boat, and sometimes dying in the process.
Those who survive, inhabit foreign lands illegally, living like shadows, or work their way into citizenship and join the legion of discriminated minorities.
This series of eloquent photographs by Ketaki Sheth, Pablo Bartholomew, Rafeeq Ellias, Samar S. Jodha and Sooni Taraporevala (India), Saiful Huq Omi and Shahidul Alam (Bangladesh), Naila Mahmood & Arif Mahmood (Pakistan), Kishor Sharma (Nepal), Marco Gualazzini, (Italy), Adam Lach & Katarzyna Lach (Poland), Matic Zorman (Slovenia), Nilufer Demir (Turkey), Ricardo Fonseca and Michael Robinson Chavez (U.S.), are just a few of the chronicles of migrants and refugees whose narratives have been chequered with loss, struggle and sometimes... fulfilment.
The installation, ‘Missing’ by Leena Kejriwal articulates loss and despair; the festering plague of trafficked girls.
The films, My Migrant Soul, by Yasmine Kabir and Legend of Fat Mama and Beyond Barbed Wires by Rafeeq Ellias resonate with multiple emotions that journey with migration. I will not elaborate on the works of the distinguished photographers, artists and filmmakers here, as their works are eloquent and the viewer needs to encounter them, receive them head-on without prescribed analyses.
Poems on Migration are reflections of Asad Alvi, Bina Sarkar Ellias, Blessing Musariri, Gulzar, Kala Ramesh, Hemant Divate, Kuei-shien Lee, Mahmoud Darwish, Najwan Darwish. Pablo Neruda, Randhir Khare, Sudeep Sen, and Tishani Doshi.
It has been recorded that Homo sapiens originated around 200,000 years ago, as verified by fossils found at Omo Kibish in Ethiopia. The human race evolved from Africa from its earliest migrants some 80,000 to 60,000 years ago; thus, we have journeyed through many moons of migration, destruction, rehabilitation, and reinvention. Such cruel irony then, that Africans and others of dark skin are “black”-listed by progenies in our race-ridden world.
Initially, migration was believed to have been propelled by climate change. Since then, through thousands of years of mutations, through migration from Africa to India, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Middle East and southern regions of Central Asia, Asia, Europe, and beyond, trails lead into the Americas, where Africans, our ancestors, were transported like cargo, as slaves.
As in other regions globally, the subcontinent experienced an exodus of people during India’s Independence from the British and its Partition in 1947 into India and Pakistan [Pakistan would later be split into Pakistan and Bangladesh in 1971]. With the establishment of borders, a mass exodus ensued wherein about 14.5 million people of one faith fled to India and that of another, to Pakistan, tearing and fragmenting people and homes. Violence spread with brutal massacres on both sides, including rape and destruction, wasting thousands of human lives. Was it worth it? Are borders more critical than human lives?
And is the earth not ours? Were it not for the early empires and the later nations, were it not for the propagation of territorial chauvinism, would we not have been freer citizens of the world? For one, there would be no wars to defend or claim territories. And the arms mafia would be redundant. Which is why the U.S. and Russia to begin with, and other nation states, exult in fuelling wars, feeding hate... to serve bigots and mercenaries, fill their silos with wealth, power and control. Entire families killed or driven to seek refuge in other lands is of little consequence to the whims of these power-mongers.
Through history, the nexus of Nation State/politics and intolerant religion have been divisive factors. Their barbed wires have kept people from embracing each other. The “other” in fact, is created by jingoistic egos that fail to respect “difference”, exacerbating xenophobia, jingoism and savagery.
Migration is thus, borne out of multiple complex issues such as these that will continue until reason and compassion prevail. Until we move out of ghettos… of space and mind. Therefore, it is critical to think beyond the limitations of nation and boundaries, to take a transformative leap towards, as Tagore had said, “a world that has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls”.
We are here to stir your minds and work towards that inclusive world.
Bina Sarkar Ellias
SSPMS school ground, near Modern Cafe,
Timings : 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Till 29th Jan
Rajesh Shirodkar, a mechanical engineer, graduated from Bharati Vidyapeeth, will present two sculptures - Migration of a Family and Mother and Daughter, this year under the Moving Art/Spaces project. He is highly passionate about sculpture, even though he doesn’t hold a degree from an art college. One of Pune Biennale’s Project Directors, Popat Mane, helped and encouraged Rajesh Shirodkar to participate in Pune Biennale 2015 with his first work - a ROBOCOP. With the working background in the land development business, the artist is interested in construction and fabrication. He loves to experiment with the structure, so you can see some movement in his works.
Nitin Mahadeo Thakare has been participating in Pune Biennale since 2013. This time he is working on Moving Art /Space Project in creating sculptures from junk that relate to Migration.
He was born in Yavatmal, India, and studied GD Art Sculpture in Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune. He had participated in competitions held by various respected organisations like South Central Zone Cultural Centre, State Art of Maharashtra and got awards in both competitions. The artist believes in handling various mediums while working on sculptures. He usually likes to work on art which conveys a story and has conducted various workshops for art lovers as well.
Nikhil Rajendra Karoshi will explore the subject of Migration through the medium of Junk to create sculptures in Moving Art/Spaces project at Pune Biennale 2017. He has been a part of Pune Biennale 2015 as well.
Having a degree in Sculpture from Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Fine Arts, Pune, he has worked in many private companies as a graphic designer since 2010. Currently Nikhil is working as a freelancer for sculptures and graphic designs. His sculptures got many awards and were exhibited in various shows like Bombay Art, Art Society of India, South Centre Cultural Zone, State Art of Maharashtra.
He relentlessly highlights the simple parts of life. The viewer can find his works conceptual and interesting due to the use of uncommon and unconventional media such as garbage for creating new sculptures.
Bina Sarkar Ellias is the curator for the Containers project under Moving Art/ Spaces Participatory Project.
She is founder, editor, designer and publisher of International Gallerie, since 1997, an award-winning global arts and ideas publication encouraging critical awareness and understanding of cultural diversity as interpreted through the arts. She is also a curator, poet and fiction writer and has been published in anthologies and online sites. Her book of poems ‘FUSE’ was recently launched in New York and at several Poetry Festivals. She has received a Fellowship from the Asia Leadership Fellow Program and Japan Foundation, 2007, towards research and development of the project, Unity in Diversity: Envisioning Community Building in Asia and Beyond, the Times Group Yami Women Achievers’ award, 2008, and the FICCI/FLO 2013 award for excellence in her work.
Arif Mahmood, based in Karachi, Pakistan, has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Otterbein College, Ohio USA. He started photography on his return to Karachi in 1985, areas of interest being photojournalism, portraiture and fashion. He has contributed editorial work for all major publications of Pakistan and international publications, including Newsweek, Khaleej Times, Gulf News, Arabian Women and Private Magazine. Mahmood has 25 publications to his credit, including limited edition portfolios and books. He has had 13 solo exhibitions in Pakistan and abroad, along with 56 group shows in various cities of the country and abroad. His photographs are also in the permanent collection of the museum of Fine Arts Houston USA. Mahmood is currently Chief Operating Officer at White Star Photo Private Limited.
Shahidul Alam, from Bangladesh, is a photographer, writer, curator and activist. He has been shown in MOMA New York, Centre Georges Pompidou Paris, Royal Albert Hall and Tate Modern London. A guest curator of Whitechapel Gallery, Musee de Quai Branly and Brussels Biennale, Alam was given the Shilpakala Award in 2015. He founded the Drik and Majority World agencies, Pathshala Institute and Chobi Mela festival. A speaker at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge universities and top museums, as well as TEDx, POPTech and National Geographic, Alam is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and visiting professor of Sunderland University in the UK and advisory board member of National Geographic Society and Eugene Smith.
Naila Mahmood is a Karachi, Pakistan-based documentary photographer and a visual artist. Her work revolves around the complexities of urban spaces and issues of human rights. She has exhibited her work in Pakistan, England, USA, Dubai and India. She teaches at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi, Pakistan. She is the Coordinator of Vasl Artists’ Collective.
Continuing her engagement with 'order in chaos', her corpus of work in Indian Ceramics since the 1970s with a unique sense of aesthetics with a rustic tinge is truly inspiring. Her work is a jugalbandi between the self and the elements, where she allows the fire to completely take over and is rarely disappointed in the end results.
Narayan Chandra Sinha, based in Kolkata, completed his Bachelors in Science from Calcutta University. He has held over 12 solo shows of his works since 2000. His recent works include; ‘Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata in 2008; ‘The Address’, Kolkata in 2008; ‘Sonar Bangla’, Kolkata in 2007; ‘Gufa Art Gallery’, Ahmedabad in 2006; ‘Jehangir Art Gallery’, Mumbai in 2005; ‘Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata in 2005.
He has also displayed his works at several group exhibitions, including; ‘Harmony Show’, Mumbai in 2006; ‘Birla Academy of Art & Culture-Open Air Painting Exhibition’, Kolkata in 2004; ‘Annual Exhibition of Birla Academy of Art & Culture’, Kolkata in 2003, 2005 & 2006; ‘Durga Exhibition (La Mera), Kolkata in 2002 & 2004.
Adam Lach is co-founder of Napo Images and Vice President of Napo Foundation. He has been published by Newsweek Poland, 2006-2013, and also The New York Times, Le Monde, L’espresso, Die Zeit, International Herald Tribune, Solid Ground, Newsweek, Le’Magazine, Svenska Dagebladet, amongst others. Winner of numerous photo contests, his photo essays were shown at prestigious international exhibitions, including Polka Galerie at HSBC in Paris, the Prague Biennale and the World Photojournalism Festival in Beijing. He has taught Press Photography and Reportage and New Media at the Institute of Journalism at the University of Warsaw, 2010-2012.
Katarzyna Lach graduated from University of Warsaw in the field of Faculty of Journalism and Social Communication with major in Press, Advertising and Editorial Photography. She received her master’s degree in film production from National Film School in Lodz.
She has been coordinator of the project “The Way We Are”, 2013 when she also created her first individual project in the form of a book ‘Near/Obok” concerning identity and openness of non-heterosexual people and the problems they’re dealing with in their everyday life. She has also directed music videos and art events during international conventions in Warsaw while being engaged with sound production and post-production.
Ketaki Sheth, based in Mumbai, was committed to black and white photography, chemistry, and silver gelatin prints until 2014, when dwindling analogue supplies forced her transition to digital photography and colour. She won the Sanskriti Award for Indian Photography in 1992, and in 2006 the Higashikawa Award in Japan, for best foreign photographer. In 2008, she was honoured with a solo show ‘Bombay Mix’ at Fête du Livre in Aix-en-Provence. In 2015, the National Portrait Gallery, London, exhibited a selection of her Sidi photographs titled, ‘On Belonging: Photographs of Indians of African Descent’. Besides India, her work has been exhibited in Australia, France, Japan, Spain, UK & the USA. She is currently working on her fourth book in colour.
Kishor K. Sharma, based in Kathmandu, Nepal, is a self-taught documentary photographer from Kathmandu, Nepal. A freelance photographer since 2005, he has worked temporarily with Drik India in Calcutta in 2008/09 and at Photo.Circle, a platform for emerging and professional photographers in Kathmandu between 2011-2013. Sharma received a scholarship from the Danish Ministry of Education in 2013 and completed the Advanced Visual Storytelling course from the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark. He was awarded with the Asia Prize in Photo City Sagamihara 14th General Photography Festival, Sagamihara, Japan, for his documentary work on Nepali nomads. His work has appeared in national and international publications and has been exhibited at various venues in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Finland, France, UK and Japan.
Marco Gualazzini based in Italy, began his career as a photographer in 2004, with his home town’s local daily, La Gazzetta di Parma. His recent works include reportage photography on microfinance in India, the media in Laos, discrimination of Christians in Pakistan, as well as on Myanmar and Somalia. He devised and took part in a documentary for the Italian national TV network RAI on the caste system in India. His photographs have been published in magazines such as M [Le Monde], Internazionale, Io Donna and Sette among others. He was awarded the second position for the war photography category ‘Prix de la Photographie’, 2013, and the First Prize, Marco Luchetta - Miran Hrovatin 2013, besides the Getty Images Grant, Editorial Photography Recipient 2013.
Moska Najib currently based in Singapore, was born in Kabul in Afghanistan and moved to Delhi in 1992. She has been taking photographs for several years and her photos have appeared in numerous publications, including the BBC News website. Najib graduated with a degree in journalism from Switzerland after which she worked for the BBC in Delhi as a producer and correspondent, travelling extensively to many parts of South Asia, reporting through film and photography. She is interested in subjects that interpret her view of the world.
Nazes Afroz currently based in New Delhi, was born in Bardhaman, West Bengal, India, and moved to London in 1998. A print and broadcast journalist from Kolkata, he has been a keen photographer for three decades. He started working for Aajkaal a newspaper in Kolkata before moving on to the BBC World Service in London where he lived for nearly fifteen years. Afroz has been documenting communities and people through his photographs, which have appeared in various publications and on the BBC and Al-Jazeera websites. He is passionate about exploring new places and people and capturing them through his lens.
Matic Zorman a freelance photojournalist was born in Slovenia. He is passionate about documentary projects and reporting issues through personal stories of victims impacted by conflict; stories that would otherwise be reported as a statistics. Matic’s motivation to stir and break the omnipotent apathy and injustice. Matic’s work was awarded by the World Press Photo in ‘The People’, single images category for his photo of a refugee girl waiting to register on the Balkan migration route in 2016. Matic was selected in the roster of Emerging Talents by Reportage by Getty Images in 2013 and attended NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Belgrade in 2015. He received the “Media Watchdog” title of honour for exceptional work in press photography by the Slovene Association of Journalists in late 2015. Among other recognitions, his imagery and reportage was awarded at the Balkan Photo Festival in 2016; in 2015 he was shortlisted for ‘Magnum Photos 30 under 30’ and also received a 3rd place in ‘Top News at The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Award’ in 2015. His work was selected for the ‘Best Reportage in 2012 and ‘Photo of the Year’ in 2015, at Slovenia Press Photo.
Pablo Bartholomew, is a New Delhi-based award-winning photojournalist and an independent photographer. Noted for his photography, he is also an educator, running photography workshops, and as manager of MediaWeb, a software company specialising in photo database solutions and server-based digital archiving systems. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2013, and received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2014.
Rafeeq Ellias, is a Mumbai-based photographer and filmmaker with over 30 awards to his credit, including an Emmy for a series of UNICEF TV commercials as well as two National Awards for his BBC-documentary, ‘The Legend of Fat Mama’ on the Chinese community in Kolkata. He began his career in advertising in India and in Japan. As a cinematographer and director, his documentaries include ‘Beyond Barbed Wires: A Distant Dawn’, documenting the testimonies of a group of Indian Chinese who were arbitrarily incarcerated in an old POW camp in Deoli, Rajasthan in the aftermath of the India-China war in 1962. He is currently working on a documentary on the trajectory of EPW, the iconic political weekly.
Ricardo Fonseca, based in New York, U.S., has been a graphic artist for more than 20 years. He earned his MFA from New Jersey City University (Jersey City, New Jersey, USA) and his BFA from William Paterson University (Wayne, New Jersey, USA). He has been a graphic designer, web designer and photographer at Kean University (Union, New Jersey, USA) for more than 14 years. He received design awards from the Arts Directors Club of New Jersey (ADCNJ) in 2010, 2011 and 2012. As a freelancer, he provides artistic consulting and creative solutions in design, fine art and photography.
Saiful Huq Omi, based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is a photographer, filmmaker and activist who started his career in photography in late 2005, after his master’s degree in EEE. Omi has been exhibited in over 20 countries and has been published in many major international publications. Besides numerous awards, he has received the Magnum Foundation's grant for two consecutive years. Omi established Counter Foto, a photography institution in 2013, opposing various human rights violations and state sponsored violence. Counter Foto now operates from Dhaka and Chittagong, besides having branches in Kolkata and from its upcoming Latin American Office in Columbia.
Samar S. Jodha, based in Delhi and Dubai, is an artist who, over the last 20 years, has been using photo+film+installation art to address various issues such as development/human rights/conservation. Among several significant projects in India and overseas, Jodha was invited by Amnesty International to install ‘BHOPAL: A Silent Picture’, in a 40-foot container during the London Olympics, to showcasing ‘OUTPOST’ (a pictorial trope of discarded containers fashioned into habitat by miners in India's pristine Northeast), at the 55th Venice Biennale; ‘Phaneng’, his award-winning portraiture project about the disappearing Tai Phake, a Buddhist tribe in India’s northeast, included capacity building projects such as education, textile revival and help build a monastery.
Sooni Taraporevala, is a Mumbai-based photographer who became a screenwriter who became a filmmaker. Currently she practices all three with great pleasure.
Leena Kejriwal, a Kolkata-based photographer and installation artist, has been brand ambassador for Fuji India and an artist in residence in France in 2006/07. Besides being published in various publications, her seminal work “Calcutta: Repossessing the City”, published by Om Books International, 2007, has been a best seller while other books to her credit are “In the Shadows” co-authored with Payal Mohanka, 2006 and “Flurys: The Cake That Walked” by Bachi Karkaria. Her works were a part of Sotheby’s Spring Asian Art auction, 2009. She created a 2-part photography installation, titled “East City” for The Birla Academy of Art and Culture in 2010. The show travelled to New Delhi as “Entropic Sites”, 2011, and to Iran as “I Saw That Which Remained Unseen”, 2011. The last version of this work was shown in a group show in Berlin in 2012, titled “When Violence Became Decadent” and in Weimer in Germany, 2013. Her work is a critical reflection of her concern with human trafficking and has found a new language in the public art work “MISSING”.
Yasmine Kabir is an independent filmmaker based in Bangladesh. Her films have been seen worldwide and have received many awards and acclaim. Her filmography includes 'Death Chant', 1992, 'A day at the Embassy', 1996, 'For Solaiman', 1997, 'A Mother's Lament', (Duhshomoy), 1999, 'My Migrant Soul' (Porobashi Mon Amar), 2000, 'A Certain Liberation' (Shadhinota), 2003, and 'The Last Rites', 2008.
Ashwini Pethe is a professor at Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Architecture. She is actively engaged with social trusts like Janaseva Foundation and professional bodies such as IIA, FEED and Constro. Being an urban designer she has been contributing to the city's public spaces in various ways. She was one of team members who designed Pune Arts Plaza at the Bund Garden Bridge. Most importantly she has groomed the movement of Pune Biennale, since its inception, in the capacity of convener and program director.
An Interior designer by profession and founder of Design Guidance , Rashmi Naik is In-charge of executions for Pune Biennale 2017. She considers her projects as art extensions of her art form. Having worked on various residential, commercial projects and corporate offices, Design Guidance follows a unique style based on an ideology towards the design requirement and experiences as sensual, dynamic environment.
Rashmi conducts practical training workshops for students of interior designing. As a member of IID she wishes to contribute in Design education to change the perception and bring respectability to the profession.
Being a scientific vastu expert she also conducts training and workshop on basic scientific vastu.