Our Chitpur Residency kicked off with three workshops that took places over the last few weeks at the Oriental Seminary on Chitpur Road. We began by having the students who participated in our November workshop fill out a short survey about the experience, and also distributed the books that they co-authored.
The workshops took place over the last week. The first, led by Avijna Bhattacharya, revolved around local stories and narratives from the community. The students learned about the different components of a short story, and went out into the community to interview different individuals. They also started a journal, where they will continue to collect more stories about people in their every day environment.
The second workshop was about theatre and performance, and was facilitated by Bengali veteran actor Joyraj Bhattacharya and his theatre colleagues. The facilitators helped the students engage in different theatre exercises, and they also performed a reading of a Bengali play- 'Lakshman-er Shaktisheel'. This play will become a vehicle for learning about the jatra theatre of Chitpur.
The third workshop was facilitated by printmakers Purnaa Deb and Nilanjan Das, along with the help of graphic designer Rajasee Ray. They led the students in a printmaking exercise over the week, in which the students each made letters using linoleum squares. The students also met with wood-cut carvers and printmakers on Chitpur Road.
Stay tuned for more details on upcoming workshops!
Last week we met up with our artist team to discuss the upcoming workshops we will conduct in Chitpur Road. As usual, we met up in Studio 21 in Gariahat, South Kolkata, and the discussion was a fruitful one.
The group of assembled artists included experts in the fields of printmaking, art history, architecture, curation, and performance. Earlier discussions had revolved around social art practices in general, discussions of "community," and thinking about how to conceptualize the process of "community art."
Having participants from very different disciplines means that talking about art inevitably brings up many different view points - even conflicting ones. The Hamdasti team has really enjoyed the opportunity to learn from these collaborations and conversations. We are looking forward to facilitate bringing together these different perspectives in a community setting.
In this discussion, we attempted to narrow down the areas of focus for the different community workshops to be conducted on Chitpur Road at the end of January. Some of these interests can be seen below, from critical lenses and practices, to signage and names, to documenting history and local narratives, to confronting public and private spaces.
Based on the interests of each artist we formed three groups, each of which will develop a site-specific project with students and community members on Chitpur Road. Avijna, Manas and Rajdip will focus on Public Spaces, Joyraj, Sagnik and Ankita on Jatra, and Purnaa, Rajasee and Nilanjan on Printmaking. To kick off the projects we are starting with workshops at the Oriental Seminary School.
Stay tuned for more workshop updates!
We are a Kolkata based non-profit dedicated to promoting civic engagement through participatory art projects.