www.punemirror.com | January 14, 2018
Artist Garima Gupta often visited Papua New Guinea to document and illustrate the many species of birds of paradise found in the region. Her travels culminated into a multimedia exhibition entitled ‘Minutes of the Meeting’, which was exhibited at Clark House Initiative in Mumbai last year. But Gupta’s muse at an ongoing artist residency programme in the city is markedly different. “I am doing research on fabric,” says the alumna of National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad.
The Artists’ Residency organised by FLAME University was put together by Gauri Gandhi, who teaches sculpting at the institute. Gupta and Roshan Chhabria, an artist from Baroda, were chosen for the three-week residency that started this week. Gandhi explains that the aim of the programme is twopronged: “This is an opportunity for students and those interested in art to interact and learn from Gupta and Chhabria,” she says, “And it is important that I update myself by interacting with younger artists.”
There is a reason why the theme of the Artists’ Residency focuses on fabric. “Elements of history, philosophy, politics, commerce and art are intertwined with textile,” says Gandhi. Gupta, who has illustrated for Jerry Pinto’s picture book, When Crows Are White, says it is too early to comment on what she would create at the university. “I am just getting started,” says 31-year-old Gupta. Chhabria, 34, says he visited Laxmi Road to pursue the subject. “I photographed tailors and shops that sell garments in the area.”
Gupta, who is based in Bangalore, plans to visit Papua New Guinea again to sketch the birds of paradise. “My documentation of the birds goes beyond aesthetic pursuits,” she says. Through illustrations, animated film and video clips, she highlighted how the avian species are hunted by locals in Minutes of the Meeting. Her interest also lies in researching on the rampant trade of the birds of paradise that dates back to the 1500s.
Last year, Chhabria had also participated in a residency for artists organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation. In the past, he has worked on themes inspired by women titled ‘Modern Mothers’. In it, he explores the lives of liberated women engaged in various activities. “I used to observe these women in my neighbourhood,” he says.
The Artists’ Residency offers visitors an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with Gupta and Chhabria, who will be available at the FLAME campus until the end of the month. “We chose Roshan for his humorous take on art and Garima for the intensity of her illustrations and the interesting aspect of her theme,” says Gandhi.
Renowned Bangalore-based artist Suresh Jayaram, Latha Tummuru of Dastkar Andhra and artist Manish Nai have been invited to speak at FLAME as part of the Artists’ Residency programme.