Thursday, 30 December 2010

With my feet firmly on the ground...

My trip back from the US to India was in a wheel chair. Now the down side of this is that you get wheeled at break neck speed from one place to another, bumping along like a sack of coal, with no hope of browsing in duty free shops at leisure! The upside is that you can legally jump queues without being politically incorrect and you are finished with formalities that otherwise take hours, in less than a blink of an eye! So all things weighed in a balance, the verdict is 50-50!

The route back home was from San Francisco to Seoul to Singapore to Bombay to Baroda! The end result was that I had a flat butt not unlike a south Indian paper dosa after the 22 plus hours of sitting non stop. With my right ankle all strapped up and my left knee bleeding like a weeping heart, I sat without moving from my seat on each sector, without even being able to make the short trip over to use a toilet! I should thank the dirty toilets of the faculty of fine arts in Baroda for my training in toilet abstinence! On reaching Baroda I did think fleetingly of doing the genuflecting and kissing the ground act, but thought better of it, as I bumped along in the wheelchair to my car, that would finally take me home!

It forced me to think of all the many differently-abled people and how unfriendly our infrastructures are for them. We give scant attention to people with different needs, and in all the planning and progress that we chart in India, we allow for so much corruption to syphon away funding that could otherwise be used to create systems that benefit the ably challenged. But we get away with the token few ramps and believe that we have done enough, preaching about our tolerance and compassion as a cultural virtue. For example public communication systems do not ever take into account those who are sight or hearing impaired,but who cares about such trivial details when we are on the road to make quick bucks?

We built our home with an elevator, so that as we grow old, we can still remain mobile in all parts of our house. Many friends thought this an utter extravagance and perhaps would not have blinked an eye if we had spent the same amount on a fancy car! Aging in never considered something to factor into the way we plan our lives, and so we suddenly find ourselves in situations which leave us with no choices or options for a fulfilled existence.
Today as I limp about the house I feel we are an under-sensitized nation to the real needs of those who require special attention. Though I am aware that there are policies in urban planning that on paper provide for such infrastructures I wonder when they will see the light of day in aiding those who are to benefit by them, rather than being mere poetic lines in musty files where roaches lay their eggs on.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Out on the count of ten...

Designers of architectural spaces and landscapers often leave common sense and practicality completely out of their work, desiring only aesthetics to become of paramount significance instead. Well at this beautiful location of Montalvo where the 10 studio homes are built on the slope of a hill, it is unfortunate to see that the same folly and lack of wisdom has come into play where common sense and practicality has been given a slip, whilst designing this beautiful art center!

I am currently laid up after a nasty fall on the concrete road that winds up the hill, with a busted knee and a sprained ankle; because the design of the road has a curved drain like indent that runs in the middle of this narrow road (!) making it a nightmare for all who walk on it at night. With no proper lighting your foot is being lured to slip and twist at any moment on the ascent or decent , as you walk.

The living spaces of the studio homes too in some instances have bathrooms and toilets that are on the ground floor and the bed room is on the second floor. In one studio home a spiral staircase on the outside connects the two levels (!) so you are obliged to get wet in the rain each time you scurry from the ground floor to the first floor; or if you need to use the loo! The kitchen sinks in all the 10 units are too small to wash even a standard sized plate and believe me there is no dearth of space available for this to be the reason of such utter stupidity.

As I sit with an ice pack on my swollen ankle and a bloodied knee I wonder what prompts us to create living spaces without functionality being the key factor. In Gujarat we have many well known architects, but when we built our home I chose to design every millimeter of the space myself. For me I believe that beauty and functionality should be attributes that are mutually compatible within architecture. I would give the Montalvo Art Centre full marks on beauty and fail them on functionality.

Small but tall....

It is such a tragedy to witness the hounding of Arundhati Roy and the attempt to paint her as anti national because she expresses views from a contextualized position that Indian politicians today choose to wish away. The pretense that her arguments on the issue of Kashmir are not in keeping with the policies that were laid down as the parameters for settling this dispute way back to the initial stages of dialogue that are recorded fact; implies the lack of research on the part of her detractors, and show cases the vindictiveness with which political governance can use muscle tactics to silence the voice of its citizens.

In her article that I read on line in the Hindu They can file a charge posthumously against Jawaharlal Nehru too dated 28the November 2010 she evidences the many instances where the Indian state clearly articulates its positions on allowing for the Kasmiri people to decide on their future. Today we are preferring to blatantly whitewash this recorded historical evidence. What is perhaps most dangerous is the attempt to compromise rational voices such as Arundhati's, by charging them to be in the imprint of radical fundamentalist agendas. If this is what Indian democracy translates to, then I think we are playing very dangerous games where the backlash will rent our secular fabric even more than it has occured since that fateful day of the 6th December 1992, when the Babri Masjid was demolished.

Each time a citizen stands up for what they believe in, the sceptics are out in full force. India prefers to garland the corrupt and boot those who are principled. We beat our chests and scream treason if the truth of situations are laid out, because they cast a shadow upon vested interests; for the coffers of greed must be filled at any cost, and dirty politics must rule!

Stand up for Arundhati Roy. It doesn't matter whether you agree with her politics or not. What is imperative to recognise is that to position a critique that may be considered contentious in no way amounts to being anti national or violating the peace of a nation. She is not a rabble-rouser and to label her as one is outrageous.

Let us please show our maturity and allow discourses on subjects that hold national significance to be conducted with openness and with civility; and not to let it degenerate into a playground of bullying tactics by our government agencies, in order that public opinion can then be monitored by big brother's supervision.

A diminutive woman with a brave heart, Arundhati Roy I am beside you all the way.

Friday, 10 December 2010

How do I teach art?

At the directors dinner last night, we had an interesting gentleman at our table; and as is the required protocol of such events, conversations ensued that centered around asking about one another's areas of interest, in order to break the ice. This led to a rather wonderful evening of conversation, perhaps because this gentleman comes from Europe initially and as a result carries with him an awareness of diverse cultural histories; or maybe I found him informed about my world as he is a frequent visitor to India on work for over two decades. In the course of our conversation at the dinner table, he asked me how I teach art.

It is an interesting question for me, because it is one I ask myself everyday that I engage with students. How do I teach art?

Sitting in Montalvo, all these miles away, I often reflect about my students back in India. Not just the immediate ones I currently engage with, but those I have taught over the years; and whose work I continue to track to observe the journey of their continued learning.

So how do I teach art?

My response was to tell the gentleman at dinner last night that I can only endeavour to make the other person attempt to find themselves. Because the truth is that the entire premise of learning is that long and arduous journey of growing to know oneself.

It is well known that my methods of teaching are completely unconventional. Every aspect of the life of my student is a space where consideration and reflection must occur so that it can be examined as a space of viewing that can reveal to them. Communication is pivotal. Discipline is essential. Honesty is crucial. Integrity is vital. Openness is imperative. Hard work a norm.

Whilst I have been away from Baroda I have insisted that each of my students are obliged to write me emails that frame their ideas and thinking. These structures are not so that I receive mail (!) but are meant to create the routine of self reflection where through attempting to speak to another; you hear yourself more clearly.

The richness of cultural histories is that they provide a vista of belonging that can take you out of your geographical territory without ever buying a ticket to any destination. It is this wide landscape of ancestry that beckons; and if one is to teach, then it is important to be an inspirational compass that guides the potential directions that can hold the magic of self discoveries.

I learnt from teachers who taught me to know myself. To take myself to that metaphorical gate and open it wide. Each day I spend in doing just that, and over time we fit the pieces together of who we are into a mosaic that hopefully is rich and fulsome. As a teacher I hope that each of my students can do just that.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The magical mystery tour....!

We had an absolutely humdinger of a great day in San Francisco yesterday! Our friends bundled us into their seven-seater car at 11.30 am, and took us for a real magical mystery tour! However, before I start I have to first salute the absolute selfless love and affection that our new Cupertino family embraces us with! It has been such a special feeling for Surendran and me; and we are delighting in every minute of the fun and sharing that this new friendship unfolds. It is my firm belief that only Indians know the capacity to love and share without ever keeping a hissab. But our new friends set standards of caring that are truly unparalleled.

The magic started off in the Mission District of San Francisco. Off the 16th street, tucked into it's corner is this lovely church popularly known as Mission Delores. You enter and exist from their tiny little gift shop, where you are greeted by the warmth of the volunteers. My sister, who had flown down to SF to be with us for Surendran's exhibition opening, had purchased a wooden crafted Mexican sculpture of the Madonna from this shop, and so I too wanted to buy the same sculpture (for my catholic memorabilia collection), so that we both would have the same object in our respective homes as a connective memory! The church is spectacularly beautiful with its wooden carved idols and interior decorated with paint and gold leaf; and you are instantly awed into silence by the magnificence of craftsmanship. The larger church that is by it's side, where larger congregations obviously gather, is filled with the most divine light that comes from the sumptuous stained glass windows that filter light into this place of prayer Outside is an intimate cemetery where the mortal remains of worshipers were laid to rest from the earliest days of the Mission, until the 1890's; and their silent stories whisper themselves to you, as you sit on the bench and rest for a while with them.

The De Young Museum was like a treasure box that we wanted to greedily devour, once we got there! With an exterior that is in burnished copper, this building stands opposite to the Science museum. One of the largest museums in SF, the De Young houses an amazing display of African art and the extensiveness of their collection is quite spectacular. Beautifully curated, each room is filled with objects that hanker for ones' attention and one feels almost intoxicated from the headiness of sheer bliss and wonderment!

We were fortunate to get tickets to view the special exhibition currently there which is an extensive Post-Impressionist show; and though packed to capacity we wandered amidst "old friends" with memories of interludes with them in other locations; and at different times of our own learning. As conversation with "old friends" go, there is always a banter that ensues which holds aspects of older conversations with new perceptions, vying and nudging for attention. Renoir is still kept at an arms length by me; and Cezanne continues to find new tricks of temptation that lure one to engage with closer consideration all over again! Lautrec holds an edginess which comes from the disdain with which he could mock at himself through his art, as well as the world around him; whilst Van Gogh and his deep hunger of life, holds my attention by the sheer nakedness of his struggle to survive.

We visited an exhibition of local art that was sadly disappointing but the dinner before at the famous Nanking Chinese restaurant was mouth watering; and the ice cream treat at legendary Ghirardelli Ice Cream and chocolate room at SF bay, was sinful. And then the delightful rummage through a shop on the walk back to the car that yielded a hand crafted tiger object from Indonesia!....what more could the lass from Vadodara ask for?!!! Surendran was equally like the Cheshire cat as he had his quota of pure blissful time in a wonderful book shop in the Italian quarter called City Lights. You can imagine what a treasure trove it was because Surendran actually turned to me and said:" Take me away before I buy more"!!!!
We were quite startled to see the streets of San Francisco dotted with Santa Clauses of every shape and size and gender! On enquiry we were told it is a yearly ritual to have this day on which from 1 in the afternoon people dress up as Santa Claus and basically have a mad party that spreads all over the town. Well there were many weaving Santas; and I think some dumped their sacks in all the merriment of the occasion that certainly appeared to be in abundance!
Finally like two over indulged children our wonderful hosts and their beautiful twin daughters dropped us home at 11.30 pm! Staggering up the path way, with all our shopping parcels, it certainly felt like a Christmas treat in advance with two secret Santa's from India seeing that we had one hell of a good time!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The circus is out again!

I have been travelling now for many years, to many countries across the globe. In 1982 when it all started with my first hop over to London as a student, I was gob smacked (excuse me borrowing some British slang!) with the ill-informed perceptions regarding Asia and India. That people from these regions are scattered (quite liberally I may add), into the worlds population, making for languages of these regions to become credited as main languages of some countries (i.e Bengali in America); one then wonders how the skewered perceptions on socio-cultural areas still exist without much change over the last 25 odd years!

In America, Surendran and I are regularly subjected to the most appalling assumptions based on ignorance, which leaves us slowly counting to ten under our breath. We are often caught in the midst of conversations that are geared to assumptions from arranged marriages being the only norm to ideas borrowed from slum dog millionaire that have all of Indian poverty covered in sewage, that leave no space for the nuanced and for the liberal and/or intellectual to be grasped. As is always the case of many westerners who have travelled to India, they carry back haversack dreams of snake charmers and Indian band baja, as the staple memory of this complex nation. Where contemporary India fits into this (to which I belong), is anyones guess, because all we really are expected to be are the ambassadors of the Mahabharata and other grand epics and exotic Indian rituals!

As an artist I begin to also question the ability of cross-cultural discourses of relevance within such ignorance, because everything remains so superficial at the end of it all. There is no truthful curiosity that leads to common places of belonging. There are many spaces of deja vu that I encounter that are connected to a blinkered thinking that leaves no room for assimilation. I am also amused as an artist at the political correctness that prevails which shuts out the potential of genuine introspection.

I have never been a nationalist without the edge of a critique who merely desires to pretty-up all things of my country like a mindless anthem of praise; yet I equally begin to fume at the distorted versions of representations that describe my homeland to me (!) by those who know so little of its socio-cultural labyrinth; and which hold no image of who I am within it. I have always believed that it is essential to cultivate a genuine interest in others, for the pure delight of learning. But too often this is palpably absent when I travel in North America. You are told about your self (!), and/or you receive rhetoric questions; and anytime you attempt to answer something seriously - and if it's not delivered as a sound byte:a one liner that conforms to placing it as black or white- then forget it! The attention span to examine in depth doesn't generally exist, and the superficial interest pops like a soap bubble, leaving a vacuous space of nothingness!

As a teacher I put a great deal of emphasis on art students learning to be open people; who can then define who they are from spaces of exposure. To learn to filter and receive. It is interesting to be currently located in suburban America. In contrast, the awareness and information that people in Indian villages choose to posses about life and the world is much more astute than what one encounter over here. I'm not being a proud nationalist....I'm just being dead honest!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

By invitation only!

Today I woke up and I thought what fun it would be if I could call all my favourite painters (yet I'm unapologetic about wanting to be surrounded by just painters at my soiree!), for a dinner party. Now as I'm a great one for detail, I immediately decided it must be a cozy sit down meal at a wonderful round table; that would of course have a lazy Susan that we could all spin about like the wheel of fortune!....Or do I want it out in my imaginary orchard; under the branches of my lemon trees, with candles flickering and opium incense sticks wafting thin streams of delicate fragrance into the night? Well it will all finally fall into place!

The meal will be never ending; with food and wine and conversations that criss-cross time, with no yesterday or tomorrow in sight.

But first things first: the list of guests! With an overflowing black book with names that date back centuries, I must be careful not to offend dear friends or anger those that imagine a greater intimacy than is true! As all good (or so I imagine!) thinkers do, I sit down at my writing desk and wet the lead point of my stubby blunt pencil on my tongue; and start the list with the precise numbers of 1 to 10 that need to be filled up.

With all the corners of the earth under my microscope, I must say I get the shivers! Born on Halloween, I can wave my witches wand and with an abracadabra I make the calendars of yesteryear align to the date of my dinner, in an instant. Time zones and millenniums can all get packed way under the haystack !!

1) My old friend Balacanda, is high on my list of favourites, who drew and painted the dying Inayat Khan in the court of Jehangir in 1618/19. We often chat whilst I am holding this painting in my hand, and talk about how observation feeds the interpretations of painting. He will be coming tonight!

2) Fra Angelico's The Annunciation painted in 1450 is a treasured painting that I most definitely own as my own within the inheritance I gifted myself many years ago. We talk about how the visual devices of narration can deliver a million other stories from the magic of how you paint it. He will grace the table with his elegance, because to paint so beautifully you surely must be elegant too!

3) Mark Rothko the Russian born American painter has always been my quiet seducer. He has taught me the many secrets of what pure colour alone can evoke, and the stillness that violence can contain. We always collude to meet when I travel; and he makes sure that I faithfully keep my trysts with him; despite the many other temptations that attempt to lure me away! He will come, I know, because he knows how much he matters to me.

4) Yayoi Kusama will come to my party too! Perhaps dressed in one of her outlandish attires of a pointy hat with polka dots; she will sit silent as she converses with herself in her own head. But she knows that I can hear too. She knows that every time we meet; and she grabs my hand with an authoritativeness one does not believe she possesses; and often marches me inside the chaotic world of her madness where oddly sanity is brought to book through her visual orchestrations.

5) How can my friend Frida Kahlo not be there! She prefers coming in her grand bed rather than at an earlier juncture of her own life. Maybe it is the pain of many experiences that creates this bridge of a common connection for us; as women and painters. Her love of celebrating the feminine, where decoration and the intimate are explored is another area of an umbilical connection; and that the autobiographical and the outer world are sewn together seamlessly.

6) Some friends are anonymous, and take their shape and form from the whispers I gleam about them from their art. I have decided to make an exception, (its my party and I can be whimsical!) and am calling up a Japanese ceramic artist from the 10th century, whose style is known as ding ware. Exquisitely executed, they are a marvel in the preciousness of their timeless beauty. This guest will sit clocked in anonymity but by no means invisible!

7) Picasso would kill me if I left him out! A constant confidant, he is this old friend that held me on his knee when I was a pigtailed child with starry dreams. I must have often amused him, but he was always insistent that I understood the discipline of structure. Playful and ever the hero, he nonetheless taught me some of the basics of art with a rigor that no other insisted of me. He sits by my side these days, quietly, whilst I flirt elsewhere. But he know that I always am peeking at him from the corner of my eye. Arrogant fellow! He knows his worth as my friend!

8) Paula Rego will be keeping us company too. This Portuguese woman with alluring eyes, paints and draws with a vigour that marries personal myths into worlds of other meaning. We grew apart for a while, but I have recently drawn her back into the fold of my mental landscape; and I must say that I know she will tease our imaginations quite mischievously, when we all meet up at my dinner party tonight!

9) Balthus would fret if I didn't call him up to join us. He is another confidant who holds the attention of my senses, even when I am distracted!. It isn't always what he paints about that speaks to me; but how he paints. Edged into every work is that measure of disquietening strangeness that holds me fascinated forever.

10) And what would my dinner be without the presence of Francis Bacon?! I know he would brood in a corner, drinking away and perhaps be rather anti-social as well. But I love him nonetheless, and he comforts me with the knowledge that his inner demons could find peace in the space of release, that became his paintings; and that he could in that act of painting, distance himself from the personal angst that often provokes a visual expression to be born.

Now that they have all received their invitations, I am waiting for them under the star laden sky in the wooded grove, with the deer near my feet. Dream on friends, but on this occasion I can't let you into this playground of my imaginative desires. Go out there and find one for yourself. Trust me, its a great deal of fun !!!!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

In the foot steps of Christopher Columbus....

Yesterday some newly made Indian friends took us on a jaunt in their car to a quaint town called Half Moon Bay. The drive from Montalvo to this town was via winding roads, through a landscape that makes you understand the history of settlers coming to this land with the hope of a better future. Picturesque, with the promise of plenty, we drove through farming lands where fields of late pumpkins sat in their blazing orange splendour; and fir tree farms had begun their Christmas tree sales.

Half Moon Bay high street was the picture postcard advertisement for American-pie day-dreams; and Hollywood films with happy endings. With the sun out, and with my new thirteen year old twin girl-friends and their jovial father and Surendran and myself, we all walked about from one shop to another; each guided by the whimsy of the moment and enjoying the novelty of being somewhere one normally isn't. In one shop we drooled over rabbits and baby chicks and watched in fascination at insects that were being bred as live-feed for pet reptiles; whilst in another shop the band of three girls on a window shopping spree bought "ugly dolls" as a memento of the day! They come with names and personal biographies. My doll is bright red with buck-teeth and is called Mynus. She will sit very well on my studio couch with my Wo-men dolls from South Africa, and my doodle cats from Japan, in companiable silence!

We visited a shop that specialised in beautiful wooden contemporary crafted items that were functional. From intricate standing clocks, to beautiful inlay boxes, head steads and cabinets, jewelry and objects; the range of items were vast. Extremely refined with aesthetics that made them beautiful and quality that validated their price tags, it made me realise how much we could do with the craft skills we have in abundance in India. If only designers of repute could create venues of collaboration with the crafts people on equal parity, wonderful new products could be marketed that would showcase the wealth of heritage we possess as a geographical territory that is so diverse and talented.

In another shop I chanced upon a Mexican wooden sacred heart that I immediately purchased to add to my tiny collection in Baroda. I am most often fascinated by tiny quirky objects and picked up a Mexican clay deity with wings, who is a fertility goddess with an unpronouncable name! The delight of our home in Baroda, is that over time, shelves and cupboards, corners of rooms and curtain rods, dressing tables and kitchen cupboards, all have become spaces that hold the bric-a-brac from my various travels. Though I vow on each trip that I will not be tempted; low and behold something worms its way into my heart!

We ended our evening at Half Moon Bay in a cozy Italian restaurant where we were hosted to a sumptuous meal and the fun of a wonderful band of live jazz musicians. We finished off our meal with a cheese cake shared between us with careful precision and much lip licking! The drive back to Montalvo in the dark was equally beautiful, on smooth roads with the dark silhouette of the red wood trees that line the highway like sentries, on either side.

Today the rain clouds are visiting Montalvo once again and like brave Trojans Surendran and I went out for a short walk this morning with tiny umbrellas that really served more as head halos!!! So we have opted to spend most of the day working. I finished another small water colour, bringing the total to eight completed! A family of four deer sat under my window in the wooded area today, and kept me company whilst I worked. If that isn't magical, what is?!

Friday, 26 November 2010


Being a person who thrives within the chaos of an urban existence, I am enjoying the absolute isolation of Montalvo, where really it is nature alone and yourself that you spend most of your time with over here. In my studio in Baroda I have by choice very few windows, and so my cave-like world shuts out the outside sights and sounds, keeping me in a protected womb of peacefulness; and here, I have entire walls that are windows that allow the outside world to exist inside, along with me. The paradox of different needs in different environments is perhaps what I am reflecting upon and which makes you realise how opposite factors in fact bring the balance of harmony to one.

Zen gardens fascinate me too. The order of them that offers you the exquisite infinities of peace, is completely different from the rambling woods and groves that are the wild gardens of this earth; gardens of Eden that hold mysteries and unknown surprises in their disorder. At home in Sauparnika, Surendran often teases me that our tiny hacienda like garden is a wild jungle that needs to be kept more trimmed and neat. I, on the other hand, love plants to tangle and weave into one another; and want trees to bend their branches to brush against my hair as I pass. This is in complete contrast to the order and neatness that exists just a few feet away, inside our home, where all things have their designated place and nothing is left to tangle into anything!

Perhaps both the wild and the tamed are factors of emotion that need to co-exist. I know that my head is a consistent space of madness, where like a colourful kaleidoscope, it arranges itself momentarily into ordered patterns before scattering again into other complex configurations. However, my exterior composure most often, will never let you know the inner circus of my thoughts!

The struggle of Nasreen Mohammedi who fought her neuron disorder and continued with the precision of her art that required complete steadiness of her hands; is for me one of the most compelling life lessons where the conflict with opposing forces existed and how one often battles to find those infrequent moments of balance and harmony for oneself.

For me the conflict sometimes is in how much of the outside world should I shut out and how much must I let in. Like a see-saw, this is the balancing act of opposing forces to which my own plumb line of balance and harmony is connected. Sometimes I topple over, at others I can find that wonderful moment where everything in the universe is exactly right!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Heads or tails?

Tonight at dinner a musician resident talked with passion about how often injustices have a way of repeating themselves within society in ways that don't make any sense; and yet history has these deep roots that lead you to those spaces of hurt that have fermented the potential of any rationality, producing instead perceptions that can wound those very places where comfort had once been sought. She talked of her mother who had been an English teacher in a very poor and black dominated American town, and who had devoted her time to this space of learning rather than be in a more affluent educational space of teaching, because she believed so passionately in the cause of those oppressed communities having the opportunity of learning. However when she was to become the head of the department she was denied the job on the grounds of being white. How strange is the story of the fight against racism when it comes back in another framework of practice. Her mother won her case in the courts, not for financial gains, but to address a system that had failed itself by become what it had attempted to fight against.

But the truth is that we often fall into these traps of inflicting the very wounds we wish to have healed. I read a moving interview of an American soldier who fought in the recent war in Afghanistan, where she recounts the horrors she witnessed of human atrocities people inflicted on one another which were so dehumanizing and beastly. Today she is one of the many who live with the terror of nightmares that haunt her subconscious, and in her waking hours she is filled with the anxiety of having witnessed a history of violence that she knows will seep through many more centuries.

The conversation with the musician at dinner led to the issue of the massacre of the Native Americans in the USA. A community where their leadership was silently killed and their proud heritage pilfered and ransacked to finally become Hollywood fodder for C grade films. She spoke of the vagueness of memory; where we conveniently avoid the remembrance of the forsaken because it would shame us to do so.

I come from Gujarat where we still have the stain of a genocide so fresh in our history, yet very few care to want to remember this self inflicted tragedy. The land of the greatest freedom fighter, the land of the Mahatma; yet the magic wand of divide and communal unrest is still clasped so firmly in the hands of many political agencies. Of which womb do we come from when time and again we re-enact the same deeds of pain ; sometimes we are the victims and at others we are the perpetrators.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Welcome home....!

Welcome to Studio 41!

Working at my table, suspended; with my window over looking the woods

Surendran working on his writing.

Friday, 19 November 2010

A visual treat....

Some treasures from the Asian art museum

Thursday, 18 November 2010

News from Studio 41....

We arrived at Montalvo last afternoon, after a one hour drive and a small mix-up in communication regarding the pick-up time. The Montalvo Art Residency is situated in a truly idyllic landscape with individual homes built in a collaborative team-up of artists and architects designing them. Our space is studio 41. Surrounded by trees on all sides with steep winding walkways that wind up the hill, it is a paradise away from urban living with no sounds except that of the birds. The studio/home is large and spacious with an L shaped studio that is the major section of the space along with a bedroom and bathroom and kitchen facility too. After an initial hic-up of some basic management issues that the office immediately took care of, both Surendran and I are on the way to being well settled for the next 30 days......where we can just be two artists, with only our work to focus upon; in this retreat away from our respective routines of Baroda.

The sun streams through the large glass windows of Studio 41 and a variety of birds hop around on the grassy areas that cover the sloping hill upon which the studios are located. There are many tiny lizards that scamper about in and out of burrows in the ground, who appear quite friendly despite me gingerly side stepping them on their attempts to make my acquaintance! The evenings are cold and the mornings slightly chilly; but otherwise it is rather warm through the day. Last evening we were driven to the shops that are a slight distance from the Montalvo Art Centre, to stock up on food and supplies; and so we bought things that we could make quick and easy meals with and fill ourselves on without too much fuss and botheration. I missed Mithun whilst doing the shopping because it brought back memories of the three of us in Noosa Australia in 1999, when Surendran and I were both on a residency there for two months. So smoked salmon and oysters, boxes of sushi and strawberries, assorted olives in herbs and a roast chicken are amongst some of the "groceries" that now nestle in the shelves of our fridge.

Last evening we went for the collective dinner where we met with the other residents of the program. Sitting at this table with a fire to warm us, eating delightful food cooked by Andreas the resident chef, we chatted with the connection of intimacy that only such programs can offer. There is a diversity to the group with musicians and opera script writers, conceptual artists and video artists.....and of course ourselves. The food was sumptuous. On the table was a goat stew, roast beef and a humongous bowl of crisp delicious greens with grated cheese and a pasta with chic peas. The desert was apple crumble that was just straight from culinary heaven!

Today a lot of scrubbing and cleaning and repairing is occurring at studio 41 for us, and so once that gets finished I am going to begin my painting. I believe there is a resident cat who I have yet to meet up with. The electric kettle has been plugged in and basic kitchen essentials are being put in place for us, and the management are very kindly unearthing a radio from their barn for me so that I have a supplement instead of TV, which is unfortunately not available out here. The surrounding acreage has many walking trails and there is a Greek garden that promises to be enticingly tempting to wander through.

So much to do and only 30 days....tick-tock, time starts now!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Post Cards From SF!

From the 14th floor of Hotel Adagio.

At the Fisherman's Warf Pier 39 : the hoopla of American tourism

Second from the left: Where Alice Walker once lived.

Sandwiched between two favourite artists: Rothko and Motherwell.

Magic moments...

Yesterday was a day out with the Fey Norris Gallery director and his wife and tiny infant daughter. They picked us up from our hotel at 9 in the morning and we started with a breakfast in the mission district, at a bakery that is famed for it's amazing food. People spill out of it's doors and there is hardly any room to sit at the tiny tables that are squashed against the wall. The bustle of jostling elbows and hot chocolate served in bowls, as is the tradition of the French, was a lovely kick start to the day out.
With our host leading the way on his Yamaha motorcycle, leather jacket and all, and the rest of us in the Honda 4 wheel drive; we set off with Surendran as the baby-sitter in the back seat with little Siri, who should receive the best behaved baby award of the year! We drove to the Red Wood forest over the golden gate bridge, which somehow didn't hold the "spectacularity"(!) I had envisaged from all the Hollywood hype it has received through the years. Also I stupidly imagined it would be painted gold in colour!!!!
The Red Wood Forest is a space that holds silence and magic, and you become dwarfed and insignificant standing under the intimidating scale of these giant trees. The strong fragrance of bay leaves assault you, and for those of us who use them in cooking, it holds the strains of a nostalgia that wraps you back into your grandmothers aprons, in metaphorical memories that are preciously private. The quiet of these surroundings are honoured by all who are umbrellaed by the shaded shadows of these magnificent trees, and who silently walk in ceremonial like lines whist paying homage to these wise elders, in meditative self-reflection.
The landscape of the city of San Francisco is hilly, and because of the strict building laws it has maintained a shallow skyline as most of it's vista; with only small clusters of occasional sky- scrappers reminding you that it is indeed America that this city belongs to! These laws have not been prompted by the fact of San Francisco being an earth-quake zone, because Japan too has such similar geographical fault line and yet the Japanese have built massive architectural buildings that are linear and deify gravity (!), incorporating technology that withstands the assault of these natural disasters. Though some city dwellers here would lobby for more innovative architectural experimentation's in San Francisco, I must say that I rather delight in the conservative caution that has kept this city able to breath in ways that are hard to come by in most other urban centers. There is also hardly any pollution which is perhaps the best gift of all to receive as a visitor.
At around 2 we stopped at a beautiful English pub to have a quaint lunch. I ate the most delectable fresh salmon on a bed of lightly cooked spinach, with baked farmers potatoes that had been drizzled with a vinaigrette that was tart without it being over powering. I think Vir Sanghvi too would have been rather impressed by this wholesome but finely flavoured cuisine! I of course have to mix and match food (!), so I stole from the collective plate of cheeses to wipe up the residue of dressing on my plate, as well as dunked some crisply fried potato wedgies into an apple chutney that tasted completely divine. Should I say heaven visited earth in that moment?!
We came back to our hotel by 4.30 and then wandered around the streets, bobbing in and out of stores to poke around the Christmas fare that winks and blinks its charm at you. The only purchase of the day was a gift for missy Begum! Oh stop that raised eye-brow look all of you!!!! Of course she heads the gift list!!!! What did you imagine!!!! My alphabet only begins with the letter B!
Today we are all packed and ready to head out to Montalavo Art Centre. My dream of being no where near a kitchen for a month has been crashed to the ground (!!!) as the Centre only provides an evening dinner from Monday to Friday. All other meals are to be self generated. I will have to see whether there are any possibilities of take-outs, order-in facilities or nearby restaurants. The Residency management have not been very clear or articulate in defining the structures of what conveniences to expect too well, so it will have to be a see and adapt process for us. I am quite happy with my instant noodles fix for a meal. It is Surendran who will be out on a limb, on a sandwich trail treasure hunt perhaps!!!!
With the temperature turning hotter each day I look in horror at the woollies that I have packed! Oh well, live and learn is my motto!!!!

Monday, 15 November 2010

With my head in the sky....

Today we started out with a bus ride around San Francisco. With the sun shining the city was picture postcard in it's beauty, and the highlight was passing by the home that once used to be Alice Walker's residence. The architecture of this city blends both the traditional Victorian stick houses with modern day architecture, in ways that keep the skyline with open spaces and a harmony of styles. In an uncrowded open air bus, the city held a charm and the people everywhere just engulf you with a friendliness that is unparalleled, in my experience of travel to date.

The Jewish museum was our next port of call where we saw a project titled : As it is Written, which involves a Jewish woman named Julie Seltzer who has chosen to train as a scribe. The project is to write the Torah which is the sacred book of the Jewish faith, over a period of a year, using the museum room as the site at which she does this. She sits in the museum on most days and writes this text in the traditional methodology that is mandatory. A Torah is always standardized with strict laws that govern how they must be written : 62 sheets of parchment paper, 248 columns, 10,416 lines and 304,805 letters. Every Torah must be copied from another existing one and each word must be verbally said aloud before inscribing it. I found this process fascinating because Julie Seltzer is a woman, and traditionally Torahs are only written by men. So in doing so she breaks a huge taboo; yet, she faithfully upholds the sacredness of this ancient tradition in all other ways.

In another room of this museum I saw a selection of works titled Reclaimed :paintings from the collection of Jacques Goudstikker. A Jewish art dealer from Amsterdam, his collection was looted by the Nazi's when he was forced to flee from Netherlands, leaving behind approximately 1,400 art works of historical significance and extreme financial value. In February 2006 the Goudstikker family were successful in reclaiming 200 art works from the Dutch government. The paintings showcase imported goods like Chinese porcelain or luxury English silver, French wine and Japanese silks which were what the middle classes of that era held as being reflective of their wealth and status; and so these paintings were much in demand as they reflected aspects from their daily lives. Normally I am not a great admirer of this style or genre, but these works, not very large in scale, were quite precious in nature.
We returned to revisit the Asian Art Museum again today because it is a space that one can go to many times. I say a beautiful exhibition of traditional Japanese screen paintings. The skill and delicacy of brush work is comparable for me to the Indian traditions of miniature paintings in many ways, only the subjects are so different as is the scale.
Today I felt hugely grateful for Surendran nudging me back into photography, by gifting me a camera when we last travelled to South Africa. After years of adamantly putting aside my camera with a "forever" attitude; today it has blended itself back into my life almost like a silent lover returning to re-seduce me all over again. There is another concentration and focus that "seeing" through a lens offers me.
Tonight I shall head back to a Thai restaurant for my favourite roast duck with jasmine rice. It is yummy beyond description and I fear my waistline is soon going to resemble the duck too! So quack quack and lights out on that note!!

Friday, 12 November 2010

A show to remember.....

When art is relocated into the formal space of a gallery it has to stand tall without any other props whatsoever. Surendran Nair's show Neti Neti opened yesterday in San Francisco to a response that was truly heartening. What becomes important within such endeavours is that the artist must hold true to themselves a genuineness of intention, and keep all doors of communication always open.

Our love story is a special one. Feisty and full of the delights of being friends and lovers; we hold the expectations of truth and honesty of one another, as the circle of belonging uncompromisingly. We have allowed the shadows of one another to be our resting places of comfort at all times, and yet drawn into our personal world an inclusiveness of others that can widen the circle of our lives. It hasn't always been that we can see the light at the end of our tunnel of shared existence, but what we do know is that we hold the desire to survive and live lives of passionate engagement with all that we do.

Watching Surendran engage an audience into entering the world of his imagination during the gallery talk at the opening, was a space of special reflection for me; because what I witnessed was the truth of conviction of self belief define that crucial space of belonging, effortlessly.

Neti Neti is a show that commands you to be silent, and to listen. And somewhere in that silence the quite voice of Surendran percolates the consciousness of his spectators; and what occurs is a moment of wonderment in that visual dialogue, that is quite stunning.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Seven into seven......

San Francisco is sleepy in comparison to New York city. I know that comparisons are odious, but it really is a small city that is only seven mile long and seven miles wide; and the pace of life appears to be quite laid back, with no real urgency that can be noted. The number of homeless people are really quite sad to see, because unlike the poverty in India, many of these people are those who appear to have just fallen through the cracks of a system, and not because they were necessarily born without opportunity.

We visited the Asian Art museum and it made my heart stand still. The brilliance of the curators of such institutions stand out, and it makes you cringe when you recall the pathetic management of our National Gallery of Modern art in Delhi. Also the collection of art objects indicates the serious nature of acquisition that institutions of such repute and significance are committed to. Many pieces on display are gifted or on loan to the museum, making a connection of personal pursuit and collective consciousness result in a public having access to facets of world history from the insightfulness of individual contributions.

We walked into an art gallery that exhibits Picasso's and Chagall's and Miro's amongst a host of other "big names", and both Surendran and myself were rather amused to note that even the great masters had a bad day once in a while! But maybe the wily art dealers live in the hope that a great discovery will emerge, to become the next "great find" that will make headlines in an auction one fine day.... some time soon, hopefully, maybe, perhaps....?!!!! Anyway the gallery management thought we were potential buyers (!!!) as I commented upon "favourite works"; and they inched closer towards us hoping a sale would materialise!!! Poor souls....what they don't realise is that a big name doesn't always guarantee excellence, and much of their stock looked sadly substandard, to put it mildly!

I'm still on the lookout for a cafe that has bagels with sour cream and smoked salmon on their menu....and a blueberry muffin is a ritual that has yet to be had!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

First Blog Posting from San Francisco.....

The sun was waiting in the skies to greet us in the Golden Gate city! After a rather zig-zag route over the seas that took us from Baroda to Mumbai to Singapore to Seoul and finally to San Francisco, my tolerance for bad Hollywood films was at a low! Sincere advise to any traveller: take a route that does not seduce you with short stop overs. Looks good on paper but is a nightmare in reality We were like two India spies in a remake of a James Bond film that started with two Singapore airline officials waiting for us on the threshold of the Mumbai international departure doorway (!) and scuttling us through all formalities as we bounced behind him like bunny rabbits on steroids. We jumped queues and elbowed out other passengers who were waiting patiently for their turn, and high-pole vaulted security ropes whilst looking every inch the part of shady undercover agents, with a dubious art mission on hand!

At Singapore we were whisked off once again with poor Surendran who almost fell off the in-service buggy-cart that took off before he had actually sat down! With shin cuts and band-aids in place, we reached our next destination, only to be power-walked from one end of the Seoul airport to the other, with seconds to spare to meet the take off time! Any hope of wandering into duty free shops or using a toilet facility were only a distant wish that never materialised.

The Frey Norris Gallery Management are truly wonderful. One of them were at the airport to meet us with a smile that dissolved all my fatigue in an instant. The Hotel Adagio where the gallery is hosting our stay is just a few doors from the gallery which is on Geary Street, and it offers a very relaxed and easy paced schedule for us for the next six days that we are here in San Francisco. At FNG Surendran's paintings were all lined up against the gallery walls in their bubble wrap petticoats (!) waiting to be placed up on the walls. The gallery management sensing our tiredness very lovingly sent us off with strict instructions to have fun and leave the work to them to do.

After settling in to our hotel room Surendran slept for a while, and I chose to unpack and get that chore out of the way. Then we both showered and stepped out to wander the main street we are located on. We finally went into a bar and toasted ourselves with the old Bacardi and coke concoction, and ate a cozy dinner at a Thai restaurant next to our hotel. At 11 pm local time even missy RR was with her batteries down to zero (!), and all I know next is that I woke up at 7.30 am this morning to yet another sunny day.

Well Mr. Obama don't say I didn't bring a gift with me! An email from home told me it was rainy and over cast back in Baroda. So sunshine and clear skies are wrapped up in ribbon clouds with a message that reads: from India with love!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

If you are going to San Francisco.....

Am flying off tomorrow......
Wish all of you could be with us for the opening on the 11th....
What fun that would be!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Packed, strapped and ready to rock!

The last fortnight has been hectic! With our trip to San Francisco looming closer and a zillion things to attend to (!!!!), I felt as though each step up the mountain of chores only found me slipping back to the starting position each day, as more chores got written on the bright blue pages of my rubberband book that has pages of "to-do" lists. However with all this I had a precious interlude of family and friends on the 31st of October which rejuvenated me to jump up like wonder woman on a steroid fix and dive back into operation go to USA!

In the midst of all this my TV unfailing spilled out the news of my nation like a soothsayer with a time warp. Much ado was made of Arundati Roy's views on Kashmir, and like a bad reality show, eager viewers took bets on whether she would become the next celebrity jailbird to grace hotel Tihar jail! Mores the pity that diverse discussions that are serious and contextualised are not encouraged, and that liberal thinkers are quickly labeled hard-line extremists if their views do not subscribe to mass appeal. Well so much for the maturity of my great nation; and with Arnab Goswami and his tribe at the helm of media debates on topical issues, we can only expect The Great Indian Tamasha to be what finally becomes the most credible news program to watch on TV soon!!!

Well Obama comes and the babus in amchi Mumbai sulk! What the khadi brigade needs to understand is that most often security issues related to visiting dignitaries are meant to be stringent and probing, so as to avoid the embarrassment of shoe throwing specialists and their likes making it to the front page news each day! Sometimes goof-ups do occur in the over zealousness of enforcing security measures; but aren't we forgetting that as the hosts we need to stop pouting and extend a generosity of spirit to this state guest on his visit? Let us instead focus on being firm on issues that effect the economic and strategic relations of the two nations, and drive a hard bargain where it matters the most, showing therefore that India is firmly capable of parity on the world stage of international politics. But hey! Let's get real here. At the end of the day most of our elected representatives in government office would look rather bewildered if asked to put country before the self!

Sticking to the topic of Barrack....I was considering dropping him a line and suggesting that I could send some of my woollies on air force one back with him to the US. Given that there is a decoy plane and the real thing, it would seem only fair that he understands that the two bag 23 kilo each luggage allowance is a bummer for me; and I am going to freeze my sweet ass off in his country unless I can lug my various layers to shroud myself with. I hope buddy Obama understands that generosity is reciprocal!

Well my next blog will be from the considered land of opportunities! Ta ta for now. Next stop mission USA!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Keep-sake or keep safe?

My tigress is finally finished! Shiny from her coating of melamine she sits rather regally on the floor of my studio, pleased to have me off her back and able to rest without being prodded and poked about! From a white albino fibre-baby, she has transformed into a bollywood shake-a-tail girl; bling pink and sequined to the hilt, she truly is a beautiful girl! Covered in chamak gulabi roses and adorned with painted oriental lilies that climb up her spine, each day she has infused a presence of her own in her temporary home that is my studio these days. As she tilts her nose rather disdainfully in the air, perhaps chastising me for "dressing" her in open view of all and sundry, I am beginning to have my heart strings tugged upon knowing that shortly she will be off on her jaunt to Delhi, via Mumbai.

I am not certain if she is a party-type girl! From her get-up one should assume so; but then her fiercely piercing eyes suggest otherwise!! She has two tails that nestle calmly curled at her feet, but in the watchful stance I sense that in an instance she will pounce and hold you pinned to your conscience; for her glittering skin is not to be eyed or coveted, but is to remind you instead that you alone can become the saviour of her extinction.

Pukkaar-billi-billi! Call out, and do not let a piercing silence engulf you from the greed of trafficking in tiger skins and relics. Pukkaar-billi-billi, and hear instead the deafening roar of these beautiful beasts command your fear and respect. Help them to propagate in their natural habitat, and build back their numbers through our vigilance and nurturing. How is it possible for this endangered animal to still be poached and slaughtered so openly in spaces where they are expecting to be protected? The trail of blood most certainly leads to positions of power and political connivance. Be cautioned, we may only have artists renditions of this amazing animal if we do not act with responsibility, and make it a personal mission to save the tiger.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

From the Centre....

Wired at the Heart
52 Ceramic pieces
exhibited in Mumbai -2010

Friday, 22 October 2010

Moths & Butterflies : the Sun & the Moon...

Some of the best teaching sessions are after dinner at midnight! Unplanned, these occur as our students and artist's in residence bring their work over from the collective studio into the drawing room for what is meant to be a "quick-gun-mruggan-glance"! This of course is never the case, and what unfolds are these wonderful sessions in the muted zone of divided time, between a day past and a day yet to begin; of sharing and belief in the dreams of one another.

Baroda despite being a dry state, is party-land each day. BMW's and Suzuki Hayabusa's are an everyday sight on today's crowded roads of the city. Lavish lifestyles and burn outs go hand in hand with dhokla-culture and jallebies. My refusal to be part of this high spirited circuit when I returned in 1984 from London to make Baroda my home as an artist, was because I knew it would create a wasteland within my soul and boredom would paralyse my already tiny brain. Instead our home has always been a space where friends and loved ones can come to find peace and time to reflect with themselves. To read, to be embraced by positive attitudes, to regenerate a pulse of failing self-belief, to laugh, to cry, to be sheltered; or to just eat and feed the delight of togetherness with fun and laughter.

My spirit within my home is on call 24 X 7 and I would want it no other way. It can be exhaustive and I have my hair tearing moments too; but in the moments when I see nurtured energies translate into life changing spaces, it becomes the greatest reward to have found a space of contemplation that holds more than myself. I have some wonderful tributes of love which are not off a shelf but have been made or found, and delivered with exquisite tenderness. Only recently I received a cut-out paper doll with moving hands and legs.....!

Sometimes we all troop up to my studio before we disperse for the night, to look at my days work, or we pour over Surendran's lap top looking at visuals that have many stories that he narrates to us from the depths of his favourite chair in the drawing room; or we listen to snatches of music from his vast collection that holds us silent and transformed, and in tune with ourselves in magical ways that are infinitely precious. It is a life that is truly special and I feel so thankful to have known which road was mine to take on this journey.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Eat, Sleep, Laugh......!

I took off for a fun filled three days with friends to a place down south. I am no Julia Roberts but my new mantra in life is to find that small window of time in which to just hang loose and become a total idiot! In my daily life that is crammed with an assortment of roles, and work that should get me an Oscar if I was living it out on the silver screen; time takes on another meaning than what any dictionary defines it as, and so these interludes with friends who are as crazy as I am, becomes a great stress buster and relaxation for me.

The high light was pre-determined....NO AGENDAS!!!! So the day would begin with each of us munching through piles of food. My breakfast plate would be arranged with two steamed idlis with a variety of three chutneys, pork sausages & bacon on one side and two small pancakes with maple syrup on the broad rim of the plate! Do try sometime....very very yummy! A limited time of nothingness would then begin....with mad conversations that ranged from ragging each other to serious in your face conversations on culture and politics; and of course laughter in HUGE doses that were triggered by nothing that can concretely be would just a magic act from the hat of tricks, our funny bones were in overdrive!

Then it was lunch time.....! Eating can become rather like a devotional act for foodies!!!! Pleasure of renunciation and nirvana all in the circle of a plate!!!!! Many fervent proclamations about " a light bite" would occur before the rituals of ordering the food....and then the table would groan!!! We all devoured seafood as if we had been lost in the snow mountains of nowhere and had been living on ice and air to survive!!!! The route of travel of the food on the table from one plate to another, as bites were shared and portions were distributed, would have put a treasure hunt map-maker to shame with the amount of zig-zagging that occurred on a 4 X 2 rectangular space!!!!

Then would come the siesta zone. Mmmmmm! Even I succumbed....only I did it my way (Frank Sinatra would have liked that!!!).....sitting propped up in bed dozing over TV!!!!! High on the program of nothingness was the daily swim and steam session. Splash splash.....sweat sweat....waka-waka- yeahia-yeah...decadence thy name is holidaying!!!!

Now of course after you swim you are Hungry with a capital H!!!! So need I say more. The table would groan again whilst we would sit in a shack on the beach and be surrounded by the pure magic of the sea lapping the shore, the moon high in the sky and the delight of being footloose and fancy free!!!! My imaginative mind had Johnny Dep walking out of the sea towards me....pirate of the sea and all............!!!!!!

Back in my studio my blue tiger roars silently at me for leaving the two-tailed beauty unattended for these days. Begum however rubs herself knowingly on my ankles understanding the luxury that nothingness is sometimes truly divine!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Tiger-Tiger burning bright.....

I am taming a tiger in my space! Well when the Artiger project team sent me this rather clumsily executed seated fibre glass tiger I was rather nonplussed as I had assumed that it would be a standing tigress! Well my tiger was all male (!) and so the first thing I did was to snip off the manhood of this poor beast!!! Suffice to say a beautiful pink second tail grew in its place over night!

Pukkaar billi-billi . The work slowly transforms and as I sit writing my blog the blue tiger with pink oriental lilies painted on its spine, guards me from its perch with wide eyed intensity and new found elegance!

Chatting with my gallerist this morning I spoke about how I wished there were more spaces of experimentation for artists in India. Where physical spaces could become sites that were intervened with, rather than have art only as objects of adornment as is the case most often. Corporate offices, banks, hospitals, airports, railway stations, private homes.....the list is long, the possibilities infinite. Ceilings, walls, staircases, windows, floors, basins......anything.....everything; just waiting to be transformed!

When the Bombay international airport was being "artified" I was approached to give a work of art that was to be "hung" on a wall. The terms and conditions of engagement were so unprofessional, that such ideas become spaces of charity instead of venues that can truly do something outstanding and genuine. The consideration of the safety of the work, the ownership, etc was just swept under the carpet with the usual explanation that "the budget" doesn't accommodate these factors. Ah well!!! Chalta hai India jai ho!

A young friend who owns a hotel in Baroda spoke about her interest of creating a small collection of art within the hotel premises that showcases Baroda art. What one hopes is that the bartering mentality that believes bargaining is essential when acquiring art, does not interface into this idea, because then quality and history gets automatically compromised, which is truly such a pity.

Today I have ten kilos of rose petals drying in my studio, remnants from the presentation of my ceramic art work Wired at the heart ....let's see what surprises I can conjure for myself from the magic hat of my own imagination !!!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Yesterday the Ceramic Centre Vadodara held a preview at the Red Earth Gallery in Baroda of it's 10th anniversary celebration show. This exhibition is scheduled to open in Mumbai on the 11th of October 2010, at Art& Soul Gallery, in Mumbai. These images are the presentation of my work titled Wired at the Heart at the preview yesterday.