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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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Boy killed in Noida celebratory firing

To mark the occasion, someone from the groom’s side opened fire in the air and a bullet hit the victim identified as Gaurav, who died on the spot.

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GUN FIRING
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Noida, Dec 13: A 14-year-old boy was killed during celebratory firing at a wedding function in Noida, police said on Thursday.

The incident took place on Wednesday night at Ghodi Bacheda village in Jarcha area.

To mark the occasion, someone from the groom’s side opened fire in the air and a bullet hit the victim identified as Gaurav, who died on the spot, according to the police.

His father Jagdish has filed a complaint with the police, naming four persons including the groom, for being responsible for the death of his son.

“A complaint has been filed and we are gathering video and other evidences based on which action will be taken,” police official Ramsen Singh said.

IANS

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20 trains cancelled for 2 months in Uttar Pradesh

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Lucknow, Dec 13: The North-Eastern Railways (NER) has cancelled 20 trains, including eight trains plying in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur and Basti divisions, due to fog and inclement weather, an official said on Thursday.

These cancellation will come into effect from Thursday and continue till February 15, 2019.

Besides the cancellation, trips of 14 trains have also been reduced, according to the official.

Some of the trains that have been cancelled are Gorakhpur-Amritsar Express, Amritsar-Gorakhpur Express, Sitamarhi-Anand Vihar Express, Anand Vihar-Sitamarhi Express, Jainagar-Amritsar Express, Allahabad-Basti Express and Basti-Allahabad Express.

IANS

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Regal wedding for corporate scions Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal dazzles Mumbai

Prominent invitees included Bollywood actors like Rajinikanth, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Kiran, Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri, Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and her husband Nick Jonas, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, Hritik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty and Vidhu Vinod Chopra et al.

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Isha-ambani sangeet ceremony

Mumbai, Dec 12 : Top Indian and international personalities, film and sports icons, business tycoons, political heavyweights, celebrities and a host of others attended what was described as “a royal wedding” for the scions of two top business conglomerates – Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal – here on Wednesday.

The celebrations started in the afternoon with the traditionally attired groom, Anand, arriving on a mare at the head of a wedding procession (baraat) at the Ambani’s towering Antilia residence.

The 27-storied Antilia, said to be one of the most expensive private residences in the world, itself has been decked up like a bride, and the entire stretch from the main road to the building has been decorated since the past few days with multi-hued fresh flowers, colourful lights and festoons to commemorate one of the most anticipated weddings in the country’s commercial capital in recent times.

Later in the evening, the grand wedding saw the parents – industrialist Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita, tycoons Ajay Piramal and his wife Swati – and others welcoming the high-profile celebrity guests.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee was warmly received by business magnate Anil Ambani, the bride’s uncle, while other top celebs like former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Praful Patel also made their presence felt.

Prominent invitees included Bollywood actors like Rajinikanth, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Kiran, Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri, Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and her husband Nick Jonas, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, Hritik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty and Vidhu Vinod Chopra et al.

Besides, Sachin Tendulkar and other sports personalities, top business honchos included K.V. Kamath, Sanjiv Goenka, Deepak Parekh, Sashi and Anshuman Ruia, Adi Godej, Rahul Bajaj and Harsh Mariwala were also seen at the wedding.

The grand wedding festivities had started several days earlier in Udaipur, Rajasthan which witnessed a performance by Grammy award winning singer Beyonce Knowles, a four-day special ‘Anna Seva’ and an expo on traditional Indian handicrafts, besides other events for the guests that included many of the biggest names from politics, business and Bollywood.

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