CLAUDIA   BOESE

 

Artist in Residence - BLOG

 

Something Useful Project &  Veer Narmad South Gujerat University

 

  

 

For a three months residency, the Something Useful Project supports me at the Fine Arts department of the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University in the city of Surat, found in the North western state of Gujarat in India.


 

28/12/2016


Preparation of a wedding venue, Surat, December 2016


LAST INDIA BLOG


This will be my last blog writing directly about India.

It is more in list form as I can not think about how to coherently present all these different strands.


After the Monsoon from November onwards it is the Wedding season here in India.

You see many open air places available for hire for the purpose of putting up imaginative out of this world colourful worlds with amazing inventive fabric constructions just for a day. See the photo above. They look like absolutely huge creative stage and film sets. If you happen to live near any of these places you can hear singing and fireworks until the early hours of the morning any day of the week.


Gujarat is a dry state. Even so you can buy drink everywhere, I was told.

Not sure what to make of it, not allowing people to drink officially? Puzzling concept.

I must admit once or twice a cool beer with company and the sun setting would have been very nice.


 

I only got bitten once by a mosquito in three months! Don't buy any expensive creams before you go!

There is Odomos, a brilliant cream available at any chemist. Odomos Mosquito repellent cream, cheap, pleasant smell, added vitamin and almond oil, and recommended for babies – why is this not available in the UK? ( I just now checked ebay and I am glad to say you can buy it there.)

I also used every evening in my room Good Knight, a small pink piece of paper which you light at the edges and let it smolder ... pleasant smell and gets rid of mosquitos!


I was surprised how very little fresh vegetables and fruits you get offered in the canteen or street food.

Mainly thinly sliced white cabbage, green peppers, tomatoes and sliced red onions. Unfortunately we could not cook in our accomodation. A good variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs was available at the local green grocers and only more expensive restaurants did offer a choice of prepared greens and fruit.


Section of a Wall painting in Slurrp Smoothies & Shakes, Surat


I have not heard of Khadi Shops before I went to India.

Khadi means hand spun and hand woven cotton. In 1918 Mahatma Gandhi started his movement for Khadi as relief programme for the poor masses living in India's villages. Spinning and weaving was elevated to an ideology for self-reliance and selfgovernment.

There are still some Khadi Shops all over India selling fabric, well made clothes, shoes, homeware and food.

It is a lovely experience looking and feeling their textile products, handwoven fabrics .... trying on dresses. I bought a nice pair of colourful slippers.

Sarah brought me back a lovely piece of emerald green silk from Kerala which I had made into a simple dress by a local dress maker.


Talking of Gandhi ... Slurrp, a rare Smoothies & Shakes Cafe in Surat, is decorated with many brilliant drawings by an ex-student from the Art School I was teaching at. I sometimes went to Slurrp for the cool drawings, WiFi  plus a delicious simple portion of Humous and Pitta Bread.

 

   

Studio jumble December: art materials, tools, clothes, books, excercise

mat and cosmetics I did not want to take back to England

 

Just before we got our final show ready I offered most of my art tools and materials, cosmetics, coat hangers, books and clothes to my students.

I had a restless night thinking about if my things would be of interest and also ... this activity felt like the beginning of the end.

It turned out to be a wonderful event for the students and me. Everything went apart from five used saris, which I bought from a hardward ware shop.

They sell old (washed) saris as soft material for buffing treated wood surfaces.

   

 

My lovely pink bike made all the difference in Surat, exploring the neighbourhood and town, for small errands night rides!

Initially I thought it was going to be impossible daring to mingle with everybody and anything (bikes, cars, cows, rickshaws, dogs, pedestrians, lorries and motor bikes coming from anywhere and anytime) on the road but after two weeks watching the traffic I felt confident of giving it a go. (I have cycled for many years and always take my bike on the train to London.)

What an experience. Absolutely crazy but it is working. Not sure how much longer though, because more and more cars join the road every day and this is going to change forever the speed, rythm and attention. Thanks to Chelsea for lending me her bike.

 

 

This coloured pin wheel was decorating our hand made 'newspaper gift bags' which was filled with catalogues, postcards and real flowers at the Ten Year Celebration Festivities. Our first few weeks of the residency were quite busy with supporting staff and students for the event at the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University. Artists and historians as well as students were invited from all over India to celebrate the 10th birthday of the School of Art. Workshops, talks and lectures for all were offered for a whole week.

Plus a show of alumni and teaching staff at the Jaidevi Jainarayan Art Gallery.

 

 

 

Jaidevi Jainarayan Trust Art Gallery, December 2016

 

This was an amazing opportunity for us to to meet artists and students from other parts of India. Engaging over a few days with a brilliant bunch of students from Kolkata: Abdul, Antara and Samir -  makes me want to go and visit them very much!


I have been back from India exactly one week today and want to bring closure to this blog.

 

So much more can be seen on my facebook page, especially lots of images of our wonderfully diverse and exciting arts practices culminating in a  celebratory exhibition at the end!

It took me nearly a week to feel more normal again. I have never felt jet-lagged before and really had to take it easy, the change of temperature especially. Not taking things too much to my heart for a while, just resting and eating simply, and getting lots of sleep was good.

 

 

 

A few days ago I watched 'Gandhi'  by David Attenborough. I have not seen it again since it first came out and now with my experience of India it seems very relevant now as well as makes me want to find out more about Gandhi and India. I started reading 'The Death and Afterlife of Mahatma Gandhi' by Makarand R. Paranjape which Douglas picked up at Mumbai airport.

 

Christmas passed me by somehow but it was quite a nice mood and condition to come back to. Luckily we have had sunshine nearly every day since my return which surely has made a big difference. It was truly amazing to have had sunshine every day for three months.

  

On our travels in Rajasthan

 

There is so much more to say about this wonderful Something Useful Project.

Perhaps some more reflective writing in a few weeks.

 

So this is the end.

 

Thank you for your support. Much appreciated.

 

To all of you who have given me works on paper for India; a big thank you again!  

Amanda Ansell, Arvid Boecker, Simon Carter, Ben Code-Adams, Anne Desmet, Lisa Denyer, Hayley Field, Jane Frederick, Terry Greene, Alex Hannah, Bridget Jackson, Matthew Macauley, Mathew Krishanu, Colette Magnus, Robert Priseman, Marion Piper, Hannah Wright

 

The paintings, drawings and prints were available for students and staff to look at from  Wednesday, 19th October until 10th December at the Ramchandra Tulsian Art Gallery, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University.



7/12/2016

 

AWESOME

 

The end is in sight like never before.

An ending. Trial for something else? Death? Jean Amery (1012-78) comes to mind.

 

So absolute. The end is on its way. Saying Good Bye to all the people, all things, my routine.

 

All what one liked and disliked. Sunshine,  people and the problems of a nation.

Will I ever see you again? Probably not. Most unlikely. I am leaving in nearly two weeks.

 

How does one say 'Good Bye', take leave of anything?

 

Smallness of self. Making some peace by leaving a place. Leaving memory behind.

 

Wanting to be remembered in a certain way? Do I want to see things, have things ... before I leave?

 

Will I look at all the photos in 30 years time from an armchair ..memories ...where will I be then ...care home?

The cleaners are just about to come. I can hear them brushing the stairs.

 

 

 

I read most of Chetan Bhagat’s books here. We have to leave our studio by 6pm and it gets dark around the same time hence the evening is long. He analyses and provides in simple language interesting solutions to India’s problems; poverty, unemployment, corruption, and violence against women, communal violence, religious fundamentalism, illiteracy and more. Currently I am reading  'One night at the Call Centre'. What next?


I enjoyed every page so much, finding out about India, this huge nation and its possible future. And the very  best thing about it for me is his writing about young people, their environments and conditions, full of hope and encouragement. This understanding without doubt eased my engagement with young students here.

 

 

For two weeks I delivered  introductory painting workshops similar to what I feel passionate about and impart to students in England. I cannot put into words how enthusiastic an experience for all it was.

 

It must have something to do with our relationship to ‘the other’ and how wonderful it always is finding out about each other, sharing completely new feelings, thoughts and processes and at the same time realising on one level we are the same.

Electrifying, great excitement about exchanging our huge cultural differences and dissimilar approaches to looking at and making art.


We were working in the Art School space on the first floor, a room which is partitioned off from first year graphic design students, applied art and a distinct drawing area.

Every student is allocated a wall facing table and there is plenty of space in the middle of the room to sit or work too. Because it is a communal space noise levels can occasionally be high.


 

Most students at the university bring and share their home cooked delicious lunches. If you have seen the lovely recent  Indian film ‘Lunchbox’ you are familiar with the metal food containers which are called Tiffins.


Our workshops came to an end this week and for the next week we plan to make big paintings together! Yesterday we spent time in the huge gallery space with everybody’s work trying to work out how we possibly could exhibit their work as well as the paintings I completed here in this residency.

 


This morning students started painting a first layer on large papers. The day before students prepared the surface by drawing a collection of man made and natural references.  First time ever students work on a big format. They were so excited!

 

Afterwards we went to the Botanical Garden in Surat, a place which most of them had not been to. This was to gather further inspiration and have a rest from making art. What a wonderful time we had chilling out together. Unexpectedly, our conversations focused around the subject of arranged marriages.



Students painted brilliantly today. Congratulations!

Our SOMETHING USEFUL PROJECT show will be

at the Ramchandra Tulsian Art Gallery in Surat on December 17th and 18th

from 10am to 6pm. Artist in Residence Sarah Lawton and myself will show our and students work.

Sarah explored coexistence with her group.

There will also be a performance on Saturday from 5-6pm.

 

 

23/11/2016

 

NYLON

 

Since my last blog several weeks have passed.

I hope my photos on Facebook gave you some idea about my travels.

Douglas arrived here in Surat on Sunday 30 November.

 

The following day we were invited to Diwali Festivities (like our Christmas and the New Year) by the most hospitable Indian family. Hetvi Thakkar, a student of Interior Design at the Art School, kindly invited us. What a beautiful introduction to India for Douglas. We had wonderful food, were participating at their family ritual of blessing and decorating their account books, bright fireworks and a tour of their flat. Apart from running a grocery shop they also own a business marketing mouth fresheners, a collection of seeds and spices taken after meals by lots of Indians. On top of it all I was given a striking bag by Hetvi. One of many stories of generosity I experience.

 

 

In a previous blog I mentioned my most impressive trip to the Zoo, a journey Douglas was able to make too. However this time on return we decided to get off the train and somehow ended up walking through a deprived neighbourhood ‘looking for a temple’.

We were wishing ‘Happy Diwali’ to some people and suddenly were surrounded by a wonderful energetic crowd wanting to take photographs of us. Amazing faces with big smiles … proud fathers, boys, grandmothers and mums. We were given a bottle of Sprite as a gift.

 

All this was happening at the end of October.

 

I travelled since with Douglas for 16 days through beautiful Rajasthan finishing our visit in Jaisalmer, a town close to the Pakistan border. On Facebook (claudia.boese.568) you can see photographs of this journey.

Rajasthan are selling clothes for the one week long ‘winter’ this coming February: Lots of hoodies with ‘London’ in different fonts and images printed on them. No photos I am afraid. Some days I just did not want to take photos of anything although as you can imagine whenever you open your eyes … each and everything is so touching, unusual, intriguing and rich.

 

 

Railway station

 

I won’t talk about the changes in the Indian currency whilst travelling and what problems this created for everybody as well as the conversations we had everywhere during the final stages of the US election.

 

As Gujarat is vegetarian this is truly a dream for me to live in for three months. I do occasionally eat eggs but a lot of people here don’t hence there is ‘Eggiterian’, a lovely food venue focusing on delicious egg dishes.

Part of this residency is teaching at the School of Art at Veer Narmad South Gujarat University. I just started yesterday with an imaginative group of painting students and cannot put into words how enriching an experience this has been already.


top: Varun, Yuga, Shreya, Claudia, Priyanka, Utshavi, Roshni and Karnaui

bottom: Ravinda, Vaishnavi, Jadri, Kena, Khyati and Heena.

 

I am very glad we were asked to teach at this point in the residency after having been part here for nearly two months. Who would have thought ever that I am going to teach students of painting in India? I guess now my experience serves me especially well as I know what I want to put across and can fully meet the students. Since my arrival I have had contact to students and feel this School of Art is pretty special. I feel the students are handling a great variety of materials and are learning about many different processes.

 

The students just had so much fun and worked hard the last two days. I feel very inspired sharing our love for painting.

 

Completely forgot about the title of this blog:  NYLON! I recently had a pancake (dosa) dish which had this word in its description. Intrigued, that is why I chose it.  I think it means crispy!!

 

 

24/10/2016

 

DAWALI

 

Before I forget, just imagine sunshine every day. Not a cloud in sight ever.  

Every day (apart from the Monsoon season) the sun is shining.

 

University Campus

 

I only understood after being here for four weeks that this is an actuality.

 

One does not have to be outside because the sun is shining. I do not have to make use of the sunshine just in case the weather changes. It is acceptable not to spend much time outside because tomorrow definitely will be another sunny day. A completely new concept.

 

Today (Sunday) I arranged to meet Priyanka, a first year painting student, to travel by bus to the Zoo which is at the other side of Surat. This is the first time I travelled by bus in India.

 

The journey took an hour and it was an enormous experience of passing road after road absolutely full of activities, traffic, people and life.

 

It was also at the same time taking me through different ages, civilisations, perspectives and scales.

 

Many women washing clothes on pavements, putting their garments for drying on bushes or fences or just on the side of the road. Several groups of men bathing in the (dirty) canal. They seem to have a good time. A boy just peeing onto the road. Women sweeping endlessly around a traffic island. Colourful clothes. Stains, sweat, dirt and dust. Shacks, dwellings, abodes made of plastic sheeting, plywood or fabric.

Men and women just laying anywhere to sleep.  

 

Man resting

 

Shakespeare. Dickens. Hieronymus Bosch. Shopping malls, beige and silver saloon cars, shiny buildings, derelict constructions, big roads and little lanes. Full of activities, traffic, people and life.

Fast, hot, loud, alive and sunny. Kicking, striking, sweeping, flexing and jerking.

 

Then the Zoo.

Dr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Zoological Garden was founded in 1984 and calls itself a 'Paradise of Biodiversity Expression'. 

Unbelievably after the above described travel experience I saw a Tiger, Leopard, Hippopotamus, Himalayan Black Bears, Deers, Antelopes, Emos, Crocodiles and a Hyena and more. Just imagine. It was very hot and all the animals seemed much closer, even so, caged and imprisoned.

 

What would you make of these two experiences I wonder? One more to come!

 

Then Priyanka asked me to join her for lunch at her Ma’s. 

Well, that really is another story. Her father fetched us by car from the Zoo. First time as a guest (unexpected) in an Indian household for lunch. Her parents, brother, aunt and two cousins live in a small first floor flat together. They already had lunch by the time we arrived. When I entered the flat I was pointed to the sink right in the centre of everything and asked if I want to use it to freshen up. Well, I was not sure what was expected of me but I rinsed my hands under the running water and then dabbed my hot face with my wet cooling hands. Priyanka gave me a towel, to dry my hands.

Then everybody was given a welcome drink of lemon, water and salt. This was the first time where I drank water and did not know where it came from and ate food I did not know I could trust. A delicious lentil dish and homemade bread, Dhal and Rice, pickle and Lassie was cooked by her Ma and dished out by her cousin for us sitting on a piece of material on the floor. Metal  bowls and trays are used rather than plates.

 

Anyway to cut a long story short:  The cook and her husband and their niece observed me closely for any signs of like or dislike. It felt  every mouthful of mine  they observed.  If I decided I had enough bread or rice I was not sure how this was read, perhaps I did not approve of it? Of course I had to ask for a spoon because sitting cross legged on the floor sure I was going to be messy. I can just about eat without a spoon sitting at the table. I ate a normal portion but seriously wondered if I should have had more to please them? At several points I had to lift the tray of the ground to scoop up the dhal but lifting the tray nearer the mouth, that seems to be an unusual thing to do. I finished my plate and bowls but all was awkward to say the least!

 

 I was their first ever British-German guest. Apart from Priyanka nobody spoke English. Small talk? I sat on the sofa smiling. Her father, working in construction, sat a various places throughout my visit. At one point he was just laying flat on the sofa. The 15 year old niece was the coolest, most relaxed of them all. Thank god I remembered at this point that Priyanka was an art student and stopped worrying.  I asked her to show me her work. This saved it all. In a humbly pleased way she showed me her paintings from last year. Her parents seemed to be very proud of her skills. Her niece likes dancing only and nothing else hence I asked about the local dance of Kerba and if she was involved with it.

 

 

 

That opened another door where her mother showed me all the dancing dresses she made for the family and herself!

 

 

Kerba dress (detail)

 

I cannot tell you how exhausted I was on that bus journey home. My head was absolutely buzzing.  As it would happen I was sitting next to a woman who wanted to talk in English to me about her job in finance and banking.

 

Dawali, the Festival of Light is getting in full gear, ready,  especially in Gujarat. It lasts for three to four weeks. Like Thanksgiving in America. Like Christmas and New Year in Europe.

 

It will be so special to welcome Douglas this Sunday and share all about India!

 

I am planning for us to  travel to Udaipur, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, all in Rajasthan, bordering Pakistan.

 

 

SEREDIPITY      

 

Not sure if it was a good thing reading Arundhati Roy’s first chapter of Capitalism: A Ghost Story (2014, Verso, London) before going to sleep. Its first thirty pages expose corporate decisions and actions which ruthlessly exploited absolutely everybody and anything to secure dominance and power in India and beyond. Reading this brutally killed all the beauty and hospitality I felt in the last two weeks in less than one hour.

 

 

Back of fan at celebration

 

Surprisingly the light and atmosphere the following morning was of a breath-taking subtlety but I could not get the writing out of my head. How was I going to manage today as well as the weeks to come with Capitalism?

 

On my way to breakfast I met Mihir, a lecturer of English literature at the University and owner of a beige Royal Enfield. We have had several good conversations before about the development of Hindi and English language. I mentioned the enchanting morning atmosphere and he said that winter seems to have arrived. Well, it felt to me like a wonderful summer’s morning in the South of Spain!

Then I shared my reading of Arundhati’s book and he said that she is coming from ‘the other extreme’. To cut a long story short I felt better for him putting her writing into a context which explained her unrelenting style of writing.

However it certainly put a temporary closure to my wonderful book Nine Lives – In search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple (2009, Bloomsbury Publishing, London).

This week I met painting students from Calcutta who told me about the Bauls, as mentioned in the last chapter of Nine Lives. They were also so enthusiastic about the Bauls attitudes towards the soul, living on this planet and their music, especially the singing.
 

 Panel at the celebration

 

At the festive opening of the 10 year celebration of the Art School there were a few speeches (by men only). Most of it was in Hindi, through a microphone, surrounded by huge hissing rotating fans.

All in great heat. Here the words I could hear inbetween Hindi in one of the speeches:

Art – follow – possible – around – globalisation – local culture – hard core - accept – no problem – we know – difference – work out – (laughter) – good idea – skill set – draw a line - community – displacement of point – common sense – education – exactly.

What does one imagine when listening? Not sure if these words were said but I thought I could hear them.

Not sure if ‘colonisation’ was also mentioned or did I want to have heard it?

 

Sarah, the other artist from the UK, who I share this apartment no 9 with, is currently reading ‘Hold on to your kids’ by G. Neufeld and Gabor Mate. It seems to be a well written contemporary book about the significance of our very first few years in life. As gift for an Indian friend she brought also along Homintern - How gay culture liberated the modern world by Gregory Wood (2016, Yale, United Kingdom) – looks very appealing and love its cover design!

 

I met good painters here, Mahesh Baliga who lives in Boroda, is one of them. I joined his workshop on Casein painting and I feel this might be for me. For several years I have been thinking about egg tempera as an alternative medium to paint but there is something about working with milk and pigments that appeals very much to me.

 

Electricity does not always work here. One day last week at the Art School there was no power. No fans, no computers, no charging of phones or electrical tools to be used. Light bulb in bath room blew then, too. Bought a new one today, How quickly one gets used to this and just moves on.

 

To all of you who have given me works on paper for India; a big thank you again!  The paintings, drawings and prints will be shown from this coming Wednesday, 19th October, at the Ramchandra Tulsian Art Gallery, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University.

 

 

On another note I realised that feeling smug is a bad idea. Being pleased with what one has achieved just does not work here at all as there will always be a sudden further interference or obstacle one has to overcome.

    


Two women shuffling tarmac onto a van. Near the Guest House.

 

10/10/2016

 

NAMASTE!

 

As you can imagine one wants to photograph each and everything:

 

Young couples smooching on their scooters.

Vendors of flowers, fruit and vegetables.

What they wear. How they move. Their vehicles.

Women, their faces, what colourful clothes all wear.


 

There are lots of benches like this one in Surat. I sat here taking down notes.

 

I decided not to take any photographs on this walk.

 

This Friday was the first time where I was just walking.

Very unusual activity as bicycles, scooters, cars or Rickshaws are the means of transport. Everything is so fast here hence walking really slows the moment down.

I am not sure why I had to do this at midday!

You can always hear several sharp horns beeping at once. Just imagine!

Constant noise of mopeds breaking and accelerating, stopping and starting.

 

At the moment nearly every street in Surat, its houses are decorated with fairy lights for Garba, a dance festival starting around 10pm and lasting 10 nights in Gujarat. Tonight is the last night.

Each local community dance (mainly barefoot and some in special costumes) for 1.5 hours together in different but synchronised rhythms to music around a shrine dedicated to a goddess.

Then the dancers take a break and the second round often takes 3 hours of dancing.

 

 

Imagine

 

Mopeds: Hardly any helmets are worn, women wear sunglasses and a colourful scarf round their  head. Funky!

What a magnificent sight, seeing the young and old whizzing by on mopeds!

Three people sitting on a moped is very common too.

Travelling in Rickshaws is really fun and pretty fast! When I was stuck in traffic this week, I cannot put into words how amazing it was - us all just looking at each other. 

 

Bicycles are another chapter! Very old and not so new bikes carrying not only one but two or three people and often huge bags, sacks, well anything that might fit!

 

Men wearing brilliant colourful shirts.

 

Hey, a lovely brown cow just visited me whilst sitting on a bench by the road side. She stopped for a short while looking at me and then continued walking.

 

I am trying not to get too worked up about not speaking Hindi.

Mithun, a Gujarati student of English literature here at the University tells me about Hindi in exchange for ‘global’ English. He suggested I look up the Greek mnemonic concept to get some practical help. I will spend all of tomorrow putting this into practice. Any of you used this as a useful bridge for learning a language?

 

By the way I counted it today in my notebook that I have been introduced to 39 people (inclusive the printmaker I met this morning) since my arrival 2 weeks ago. How am I going to remember and pronounce their names? Mnemonics might help here too?

 

 

 Beautiful white cow near the Reliance Supermarket

 

Oh, what delicious ice-cream you can get in India! On my way home I had a  scoop of guava (chilli sprinkled on it) and coconut. You must try some chilli powder on your ice-cream, what a revelation.

 

Today the ‘workshops’ started at the Art School. Alumni giving sessions on printmaking, sculpture and painting.

 

The printmaker (will insert his name here in due course) I went to listen to this morning was starting by talking about ‘lines’.

Drawing lines being an expression of our feelings. He said that in other places people pay money to others expressing themselves, he referred to talking and psychoanalysis. Drawings are not a commodity. One cannot pay for a drawing.Its value is not about money. That is what he said.

 

I had to leave at this point as I did not bring a bottle of water and the room was getting unbearably hot.

 

 

 

07/10/2016

 

A studio bigger than India

 

Sarah and I arrived in Mumbai over a week ago, accompanied by Sangita Misty who was looking after us for the first five days. A taxi fetched us from the airport and took us to Seurat. This five hour journey was amazing, very rich, my very first experience of India. It was impossible to comprehend this was for real.

 

Sangita was one of the first residents in 2011 and has worked with the Something Useful Project (SUP) on the development of the 2016 program with the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University (VNSG). It was absolutely delightful being introduced by her to the Art School and Seurat and so much more.

 

When we arrived at the Guest House near the campus early morning and nobody seems to have expected us but somehow we managed to find a room and I remember falling blissfully asleep under a huge ceiling fan.

 

Sarah and I have one bed and bathroom each and share a sitting room. The Guest House has got a cook and every meal Shanta Ben serves is so tasty! If we want  have a meal we tell her in the morning.

 

 

 

The traffic in is out of this world. Everybody is on the road, inclusive cows and dogs. Traffic lights are just a suggestion. Collaboration makes this traffic work. Directions cross all the time, you have to be alert about all the users and anticipate their moves. Horns are used all the time to alert presence. Vehicles could come from either side of the road.

 

Poverty everywhere. It is hard to describe how it works on my eyes, body, heart and mind. It is a truly mind-blowing experience.

 

It is hot here; the sun has always been shining but the last two days Monsoon rain added a completely new experience of this environment, i.e. humid and hot, clothes do not dry properly and paper feels a bit damp.

 

Last Friday we went to the Bazaar which reminded me of Brixton Market, Tooting and Brick Lane only about a 100 times bigger.

It is interesting that bags get checked when you enter a supermarket but not when you leave. Terrorism is on the radar here.

 

The Art school is full of energetic inquisitive students, I look forward to working with them very much. Just today I completed a small piece of my first work with the help of four foundation students. Working together is big here. Ego as we know it does not seem to exists here in the same way. Very inspiring.

 

I nearly forgot to write about our studio space. Yes it seems bigger than India to me. Just posted images of it on facebook. I wonder what you would make of it?

 

Conversations with Indian artists give me the impression that there is hardly anything out there to support their practice. Nothing like the Arts Council seems to exist. Would you mind forwarding me websites which could be useful for Indian artists to know about, similar sites to Quest and AN – to familiarize themselves what artists do to help themselves?

 

I was going to write about so much more but I better just post this for the time being.

 

25/09/2016

 

Amazing map. British Airways Flight BA 0139 from Heathrow to Chatrapati Shivaji Intl (Mumbai) tomorrow.  The flight takes 8hrs 28min at an average speed of 450km/h.

 

 

 

Preparations

 

Blogging

A couple of years ago I received the reside residency  which lasted for 6 months. It gave me some idea about how I wanted to make use of blogs.  I applied for the Reside Residency  because one did not have to state  intentions and projected outcomes from the residency.  I plan to write more about this at later point in India. Previous residencies in England, Spain, Ireand, Germany and Poland must have contributed to me now leaving for India soon.

 

Vaccinations

My GP surgery advised me to have vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Typhoid fever, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio, Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis. I don’t know what I expected but not such an easy and painfree process.

 

Research

What a pleasure it was for the last two months to research India. The process of understanding ‘the reality of going to India’ was an amazing journey in itself, not just for me but my family and friends.

 

Works on paper

I asked a number of artists if they would like to give me one works on paper each to  share with students I will be seeing and  other opportunities. What a wonderful thing to do, taking along a delightful body of work,  my support band, to communicate with others in India.

 

Hindi

I had all good intentions learning some Hindi but failed badly. Hopefully I start learning some on my flight! Namaste!

 

Photos

click here: facebook page with current images about preparation for india


What to take

This is very difficult. Taking on board the wonderful practical advice I was given by friends and good travel websites! Clothes, shoes, books, digital equipment, insect repellant, sun lotion, hair shampoo, diary and art material and what to take to share with students? Any more suggestions? Not quite finnished yet!

 

24/09/2016

 

   

  

  

First blog

 

Getting a visa for India was a rather nerve wrecking experience. There is a lot of information about it on the net but how to actually get a visa is another story.

In the end I decided not to apply in writing but to hand in personally my application inclusive passport to the Indian Embassy near Paddington in London. The Embassy is positioned near Little Venice in the impressive Battleship Building. August bank holiday Monday was this appointment. Notting Hill Carnival was also happening on that hot day.

 

I was very relieved when my visa arrived a week ago.

Ready to fly on Monday 26 September from Heathrow to Mumbai and back on 21 December 2016.

I am absolutely excited as I have never left Europe apart from one week in New York.  

  

16/09/2016

 
 
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art@claudiaboese.info