Current
  • OTHER IMAGININGS

    Studio21 presents
    OTHER IMAGININGS

    INTERNATIONAL ARTIST COLLABORATIONS
    WITH GANDHI ASHRAMS
    by
    Aaron Sinift
    7.10.17 - 28.10.17

    Opening 7 Oct, 2017, 6.00 PM

    Looking forward to your active participation.

    Manas Acharya(Curator-Coordinator)
    Studio 21
    17L, Dover Terrace ,Kolkata 700 019, Tel:2486 6735,
    e-mail : studio21.gallery@gmail.com
    website: www.studio21kolkata.com

    OTHER IMAGININGS : INTERNATIONAL ARTIST COLLABORATIONS WITH GANDHI ASHRAMS
    by Aaron Sinift
    The 5 Year Plan Project (5YP) is a Fluxus inspired artist experiment in applied Gandhian economics with an internationalist twist. Fluxus practice questions art commodity and the idea of the “artist-hero” by decentralizing art performance to produce ephemeral works which may, or may not, exist materially but which ideally are accessible to anyone. This outlook informed my study of pratima murti in Varanasi/Kolkata (93-94) as a community based practice, and the ephemeral quality of these masterworks has been a strong philosophical inspiration in our work, OTHER IMAGININGS & 5 Year Plan are the result of this performance based model.
    Joseph Beuys spoke of a “healing architecture”, creating works intended for the healing society and to call into question self-destructive values applied to money, nationalism, and art. 5YP is designed as a “healing social architecture”, an internationally collaborative and non-commercial art creation strategy for exploring economics across cultures in a way that shares value evenly among participants & patrons.
    Our project attempts to re-contextualize Gandhi’s legacy more into the immediate present by examining khadi and the philosophical vision of ashram artworks, which I feel are a form of Pop Art as worthy as any so-called “socialist realism” of the 20th century. How society assigns value is crucial to how history is told, and in their quiet way, the works of anonymous village artists have a unique resonance which is inimitable and worthy of preservation. This visual vocabulary is swiftly disappearing in the hubris of the intensely commercial digital image world which prioritizes consumer-capitalist values. Reflecting upon utopian ideals is essential to visualizing a desirable future, and the artistic culture of Gandhi ashrams has great value in examining our present situation.
    Curatorially, the project begins with Gandhi ashram jhola artworks which first attracted my eye in the early 90’s and led my attention to the khadi ashrams of Uttar Pradesh. This led to a study of economics and Gandhian philosophy, which shares many common threads with many progressive contemporary avant-garde artists active today. Juxtaposing contemporary artists within a Gandhian context revives the meaningful discourse latent in all these works, and which is as urgent as it has ever been. Balancing issues of disparity in economic conditions, gender inequality, and cultural imperialism all factor, with greater or lesser success, into shaping the curve of the project, which continues to evolve.
    All of us were absolute beginners at this kind of project, learning together over the 4+ years and relying on mutual trust and integrity. The instigating artist & curator of 5 Year Plan is Aaron Sinift. Mentored the project from the beginning is Vijay Kumar Handa of Gandhi Hindustani Sahitya Sabha in New Delhi.
    The primary producers of OTHER IMAGININGS were Jitendra Kumar & Kahkashan Khan of TANA BANA TRUST based in Varanasi, working with the artist J.P. Jaisawal & The Sri Gandhi Ashram in Akbarpur, UP, and The Chinmoyee Kala Niketan to produce most of the prints. Final printing and binding of the book and vital logistics were done by Nandita Devraj of Rudraksh of Jaipur. People Tree Collective of New Delhi/Goa has been an inspiration to our work since the very beginning, providing an ethical compass by example. The OTHER IMAGININGS Project was made possible with generous & patient support from Frank Williams and Keris Salmon, and numerous supporters and subscribers.