Saturday, 27 May 2017

Who's that knocking on our door….?

The dining table in our home has always  been the central place at which the most interesting discussions take place.  Lunch and dinner are meals where everyone sits together and conversations flow. Sometimes from a simple comment or an observation, what unfolds becomes pertinent areas that require contemplation and self reflection - to be chewed upon or reassessed. All in all these interludes are always impactful and keep us all alert and intellectually sharp each waking moment. 

I find it stifling without the inputs of  intellectual stimulus. It has been a conscious choice to create platforms of informal engagement within The Collective Studio Baroda to host different interactive events, and this insistence to bring other worlds to view more closely,  makes one more vigilant to be open to learn.

As artists who are predominantly engaged with figuration perhaps what has delighted Surendran and myself the most is the engagement with other artists whose language choices are different from those that we work with. Two years ago Ankush Safaya, a young artist who had earlier trained and worked as an electronics and communication engineer, came to reside as a permanent resident at The Collective Studio Baroda. Coming from the bustling ethos of Delhi where art events are jam packed into the schedules of artists who life there,  we were initially a little apprehensive of whether Baroda and the quiet studio practices that is the hall mark of this city's artist's community would be the best environment for Ankush to shift to, and discussed this at length with him. He was however very certain that this shift was crucial for his self growth as an individual and more importantly as an artist. It soon became evident that the discipline of studio practice, the everyday communication about art that occurs in our home and the intellectual rigours of TCSB provided him a space of creative nurturing; and today, two years since his shift to Baroda, this young artist has a body of work under his belt  that showcases a maturity of  language and a distinctive individuality that both Surendran and I are most impressed by.

Learning really does come from the decision to take control of what you can do with opportunities. We often confuse learning with mouthing what we have read or have heard ….not realising that we must internalise knowledge for it to become significant for oneself  and this is that crucial process that creates  the depth/substance of who we are. There are periods of gestation each individual may need- where we sort out and rearrange or look at things we know with more deliberate consciousness - in order to feel/know it's truth again. To merely fret for the "dream existence" without that quiet endeavour to know ourselves  will perhaps leave one with a compass that has no needle, and therefore lost forever unknowingly.

Artist's do not conform usually to the normative notions of societal expectations. So therefore the road one travels may take longer to that destination we desire to arrive at….and this becomes what often scares young artists into opting for more prescriptive and conservative ways of living their lives. I have taken many a plunge into an abyss of "not knowing" what an outcome to a decision or choice being made by me maybe. But I held a wish-list very close to my heart and knew which check boxes were crucial for me to tick. No other influence would lure me, nor would my lack of financial security scare me away from living my life with those principles that mattered, and the ideology that I chose to shape my personal  politics. 

So it is special when one encounters a young artist who knows why they turn away from the prescriptive and opt for something that holds difference for themselves,  and feel energised  and committed to the experience that may hold more uncertainties despite the rewards of discoveries. Hats off to you Ankush…. both Surendran and I are delighted to be part of this journey of yours where we too grow in the bloom of your knowledge.

* Ankush Safaya and myself in conversation at the dining table with Surendran Nair

No comments:

Post a Comment