previous arrow
next arrow

In 2014, I attended a five-week residency in Partapur, Rajasthan by Sandarbh in collaboration with Beneshwer Lok Vikas Sansthan (Partapur) & Walpodenakademie (Mainz). Using the existing structure of Self-Help Groups (a government micro finance module), the residency provided a platform for social engagement and creative exchange with the women in the rural and peri-urban settlements of Banswada district.

Closely observing the women and their families; the economic, socio-cultural and the political constructs around made me reflect on my understanding of gender, feminism and the role of art in the society which was till then largely canonical.  Throughout the residency, I kept wondering what kind of creative exchange can I initiate. What will happen to the process initiated once the residency is over? It opened up several aspects about notions like empowerment, sustenance through artistic skills, community engagement and public art that became pivotal to my practice henceforth.

The interactions culminated in making of a set of three books titled Kharevda ki Kahaaniyan, Main ………. hoon & Hoon jano hoon khabar. ‘Kharevda ki Kahaaniyan’ is a set of drawings and stories reflecting the intricate thinking of the children about their village – Kharveda. Usually, these children, especially the grownups help their parents in the fields after coming home from school. During my stay, they worked for a few days with me where I conducted art workshops for them. Light hearted like a slam book, ‘Main____________________hoon’ reflects the persona of each women from Kharveda & Semaliya, I interacted with during the residency. It is not about women in general, rather it is about a particular Bhuri, Lakshmi, Kachri, Babbu, Mani and Bhagwati. The book also attempts to subvert the objectifying nature of a resume. ‘Hoon jano hoon khabar’ deliberates around the gendered nature of some of our day-to-day activities that define our ways of thinking and shapes our personality and whether the cultural practices need to be questioned.