I am a multidisciplinary artist from Bangalore, studied in MS University. Currently practicing in Bangalore, Karnaraka. My work has developed in number of ways over the years yet from the very beginning of my art practice, I have workded in Painting, Printmaking, Installation, Video Art and Live/ Performance art. My intention is to blend these mediums into an interdisciplinary language.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Shadows Of The Past

Footpath next to Ramakrishna Math, Ramakrishna Circle, Basavanagudi, Bangalore, 2014

The second intervention of performance was basically to have interactive interventions with senior citizens who could share oral history of their period share more stories and talk about the time their experience. This performance was about making space for interaction and exchange ideas about the past with the people who have lived and experienced it. This space there was mix of present and past and future in making. This installation was traditional Chappra usually built for marriage occasion but I used it as small Mantapa, a stage where people could come and relax, hear audio, read books and also share their experiences and stories. So it was like small Palce to Sit (Katte) could come and relax. I had also lot of small book to read about philosophy, yoga and poems of DVG- Mannku Thimanna Kagga etc.

After the first event there was feedback from audience and the art fraternity. There were also demands from the public to give them space to share their experiences. I gave thought to it and carefully brought these elements into the program and reworked it along with the already planned second performance. The idea was to build a coconut leaf ‘Chappra’ (traditional festive shelter) and have seating arrangements for senior citizens in it so that they could enter into the shade, relax and hear an audio track before moving forward.

By improvising and modifying my idea to involve senior citizens for conversation, I gained the opportunity to document oral histories of the past of Basavangudi as experienced and remembered by them, since they were witness to it. 

The experience of this long duration interaction and performance was valuable since many senior citizens came forward to share their histories. For those who came in the morning, I had prepared a Kannada script about my concept; it had information about my work. Many could not respond immediately since they were passing by with some other work in hand but they returned later in the afternoon and shared amazing stories.

One man told two stories, one about a snake that understood human language and another about a person who could turn water into yellow color with his magical powers. One more person who is a history teacher in a local college had lot to share about the place. Later a gentleman came up with his own poetry written spontaneously after reading my script, and using information from that. He shared this with Mamta Sagar and other people around. The traditional Mantapa was further used by Mamta Sagar for her performance to narrate a poem on 'Kansugallu' ('Dreams') which she had collected from public interaction. We had also given empty cards to people much before performance to write two lines about dreams and many contributed for it. In an interesting case one lady was hesitant to share her dreams and Mamta had to tell her own dreams in exchange, and then she was ready to share.

I felt the Mantappa had created a great platform, a space where past, present and future came together. I had great sense of satisfaction after doing this installation and performance, though initially it was a challenge to find the right people to construct it.

Dimple B Shah

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