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A small Himachal village that’s taking art to nature

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Gunehar-village

Bir, June 16: Art is not a commodity but an experience, say connoisseurs, and this experience can take an entirely new form when it interacts with its surroundings — walls, lights, music, furniture and other artwork around it — or even moves beyond it.

What if the whole idea of art from its creation to exhibition is transformed? What if the creation of an artist is juxtaposed with the supreme creation — mother nature itself? What if the surrounding walls are replaced by trees and shrubs, artificial lights by the natural play of sunlight and shadows, and recorded music by the sounds of crickets, birds and the wind?

One such experience was showcased in Gunehar, a small village in Himachal Pradesh, which falls between Bir and Billing, famous as the paragliding zone of India.

Every three years, a unique art residency programme called “ShopArt ArtShop” is organised in Gunehar by German-Indian art curator Frank Schlichtmann, where artists break free from rules and restrictions of art galleries and curators, to create art in the foothills of Himalayas while interacting with nature as well as the villagers.

However, Schlichtmann took it a notch higher this June with an exhibition titled “In the Woods” where various artists’ works were displayed in the natural setting of a forest above Gunehar.

The idea was to make art more accessible by taking it out of the restricted and elitist space, he said.

“First, it’s a different way of doing an art exhibition because these usually take place in galleries and only for city people, and that too, for a select few.

“We want to achieve something first for the artist. So here, the artists have a chance to work outside all the restraints put by the galleries and the curators,” Schlichtmann told IANS.

Schlichtmann, who not only curated the exhibition which concluded on June 11 but also displayed a few of his own artworks, said that in India, the art scene starts and ends with painting and sculpture. “That’s all that they consider as art anyway.”

He added that the aim of the exhibition as well as the triennial art residency project is also to bring forward the emerging artists of various art forms.

“The emerging artists, who are actually the interesting ones and are taking the art scene forward, have to fight a lot to even get a spot. For instance, a famous curator whom I know actually charges the artists to curate,” Schlichtmann said.

The exhibition displayed terracotta sculptures of Mudita Bhandari, photographs by Ratika Singh, paintings by Neha Lavingia, as well as a soundscape by Nikhil Narendra, an e-book project by Rohini Kejriwal and a live installation by Gauri Sharma.

Bhandari, who displayed works which seamlessly blended with the forest surroundings, says that it was a completely different experience to first work for “ShopArt ArtShop” and then for “In the Woods”.

“It’s very regular to have an exhibition in a city where you have a gallery, where you have a setup and where you know everything. There you are in your comfort zone.”

“But it is very different when you don’t have a setup at all. I had nothing, not even a table to work on and was working on flat cement space when I came for ShopArt ArtShop,” Bhandari told IANS.

“All our traditional potters are working under these circumstances. We, as city people, have never done it and there is still something that divides their way of doing things and our way of doing things,” she said.

Bhandari, an art graduate from Shantiniketan, prefers terracotta because it’s “very porous and very alive” and it changes with every season.

“When you place terracotta works outdoors, you see some fungus coming in — the green thing. When the rains are gone and the sun is out, the green dries up and it’s all brown,” she said.

“So it’s very evolving and is living in that particular space which is why I relate to terracotta much more.”

About exhibiting her works outside in the forest, Bhandari says it created a link between her process of creating the artwork and the way it is displayed for the audience.

“When I am working, there are so many light elements that come in and go as the sun goes from one direction to another. So I watch the work play with those lights and shadows.”

“It was a fantastic thing to actually bring the work out in the open. This was my way of sharing that play of lights and shadows in real time and with people, because each light or shadow would have its own character and it creates a mood of its own,” she said.

By Vishav

IANS

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Cities

13 kindergarten students injured in Himachal Pradesh accident

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Shimla, June 21: At least 13 kindergarten students were wounded on Thursday after their vehicle skidded off the road and fell into a gorge in Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi district.

The accident took place, when students belonging to a private school in Sarkaghat area, were returning home from school when the driver lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a turn near Garli, IANS reported.

According to ANI, one student was killed.

Injured children were admitted to the Zonal hospital in Mandi, some 150 km from the state capital.

WeForNews 

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Cities

Army operations kill more civilians than terrorists: Ghulam Nabi Azad

BJP’s language of “all out operations” in J&K indicated that a “massacre” was being planned. BJP said the comments were unfair to Army personnel who put their lives on the line to protect civilians.

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Ghulam Nabi Azad

NEW DELHI: Congress leader and former J&K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad sparked a controversy when he said Army operations in the state killed more civilians than terrorists, eliciting a strong response from BJP, which accused Congress of trying to demoralise the armed forces.

In a TV interview, Azad also said BJP’s language of “all out operations” in J&K indicated that a “massacre” was being planned. BJP said the comments were unfair to Army personnel who put their lives on the line to protect civilians.

“They (forces) take action against four terrorists and kill 20 civilians. Their action is more against civilians than terrorists. For instance, they killed 13 civilians in Pulwama and just one terrorist,” Azad said in the interview.

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Gorakhpur terror funding mastermind arrested in Pune

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terrorism

Lucknow, June 21: Gorakhpur terror funding mastermind Ramesh Shah has been arrested in a joint operation by the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra Polic in connection with the  6 terror suspects who were arrested in March.

On his instruction, the ATS official said more than Rs 1 crore exchanged hands between the Pakistani handler and terror operatives, with major funds coming from the Middle East, Jammu and Kashmir and Kerala and distributed to various states.

The arrest was made from Pune on Tuesday and he is being brought to Lucknow on transit remand.

 

 

Inspector General of ATS Aseem Arun said that soon after his arrival, Shah would be produced in an Uttar Pradesh court and taken on remand for further interrogation.

Six persons involved in criminal conspiracy and distributing money into various bank accounts on the instructions given by a Pakistani handler were arrested on March 24 from Gorakhpur, an official told..

The 28-year-old Shah was the kingpin of the gangand he hails from Gopalganj in Bihar and has been operating a shopping mart in Gorakhpur for many years.

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