Sunday 1 May 2011

River Flower at AIAF - John Hyatt

I was proud to have my digital video, 'River Flower', projected onto the foundation stone of the city of Ahmedabad to celebrate the city's 600th birthday as a part of the Ahmedabad International Arts Festival, 2010.

Saturday 30 October 2010

Entry - Amanda

Below is the finished film.

Entry HDV from Amanda Ravetz on Vimeo.

I've been wondering how the film works once its removed from the context of Dhal ni Pol and Ahmedebad. I used the title Entry (in the subtitle "Will you come in?") which was Rajish Kapoor's spontaneous response to being asked to pose in the doorway, to reflect my preoccupation with transitional space. The space where boundaries between one thing and another might be temporarily suspended and it becomes possible to play.

Despite my fleeting acquaintances with people in Dhal ni Pol and theirs with me, it struck me that hospitality of the kind I experienced works by suspending feelings of difference and separation. This involves 'playing a part' - putting on a performance and this is clearly one aspect of the film. But I think the film also shows another facet of playing host, the playfulfulness involved in suspending disbelief in the face of something unfamiliar, and how from that it becomes possible to make some new relationship or thing.

Friday 29 October 2010

Tea, flags and flowers

All of our efforts over the last month have culminated today at the Ahmedabad International Arts Festival, which kicked off with a grand opening ceremony on Ellis Bridge at 8.00a.m. attended by the newly elected mayor of Ahmedabad, a host of local dignitaries, and a gaggle of press and photographers. After this it was straight back to Arts Reverie to prepare for the Pol Project exhibition and the Chai event at 4.00p.m. At the house we are showing examples of the childrens' work from the chai decorating workshops, as well as an installation of CJ's new ceramics with intricate and beautiful narrative silhouettes, which document the progress of the Pol Project. It's also the first showing of my completed floral bicycle, and I've spent much of the afternoon 'posing' the piece in a range of photogenic locations in and around Arts Reverie. As usual, the local people are fantastically accommodating, and completely unfazed by my strange requests.

The floral bicycle 'on location' in Dhal Ni Pol.

Saddle detail.

Floral tyre detail.

Thursday 28 October 2010

Home and screening

The outdoor screening last Sunday was memorable. I was quite anxious beforehand - what would people feel about seeing themselves - or not seeing themselves, if their part had been cut out?

Steve introduced the film and said something about the Pol Project. Here is a short clip of Palak translating Steve's speech to the was quite strange filming at this point, being an observer of my own event:

Dhal ni Pol screening from Amanda Ravetz on Vimeo.

First I showed the 15 minute film ENTRY. There was lots of clapping and laughter when different people appeared on screen.

Then I began screening the rushes as requested, but soon the audience got restless, so we speeded the film up and that was better received.

Some people wanted to see the amazing dancing I'd filmed on the Saturday night when Mayur and family and friends had made an enormous rangoli with hundreds of lamps (I'll post some video of it soon). So I ran back to Arts Reverie and got the tape to project directly from the camera.

Eventually it was 10.30pm - an hour and half after beginning - and time to finish.

Now I'm home in Manchester. CJ and Steve are working around the clock to get the different installations and exhibitions done. I feel sad not to be there and also hugely appreciative of their efforts and those of Lokesh and Palak to finish things off. Lokesh skyped me last night. It was 2am and he was still working. It was good to talk again.

I'm home now, but in my imagination I'm still in Dhal ni Pol.

Tuesday 26 October 2010


We have all been working towards the AIAF - Ahmedabad International Arts Festival - this weekend as the presentation of our hard work over the last few weeks.  If anyone would like to come along, here are the details of what/where/when we are showing.  

Event: "ENTRY": screening of film made in Dhal ni pol by Amanda Ravetz
Venue: Arts Reverie, Dhal ni Pol
Time: 4-6pm daily 29-31 October
Organizer: AFL, Arts Reverie, MIRIAD, British Council
Contact person: Lokesh Ghai - 9825522039
Free, open to public

Event: Flowering: temporary outdoor installations by Stephen Dixon
Venue: Arts Reverie and throughout Dhal ni pol
Time: 4-6pm daily 29-31 October
Organizer: AFL, Arts Reverie, MIRIAD, British Council
Contact person: Lokesh Ghai - 9825522039
Free, open to public

Event: The Pol Project/Tea in the Pol with CJ O’Neil, British artist/designer
Venue: Arts Reverie, Dhal ni Pol
Time: 4-6pm daily 29-31 October
Organizer: AFL, Arts Reverie, MIRIAD, British Council
Contact Person: Lokesh Ghai - 9825522039
Free, open to public

Event: Marking the city: The Flag Project by Stephen Dixon, Kate Egan and Lokesh Ghai
Chief Guests: TBC
Venue: Ellis Bridge/Manekburj
Time: 10am
Organizer: MIRIAD/AIAF
Contact Person: Lokesh Ghai - 9825522039
Support: AMC/AHC

Sponsored by Savvy Infrastructure
Free, open to public

Event: The Pol Project - Screening of 'Entry' by Amanda Ravetz and presentation of ceramics by CJ O'Neill and the children of Dhal ni Pol (film screenings only Friday pm and Sunday am)
Venue: British Council Library, Law Garden Road, Ahmedabad
Time: Friday 29th / Saturday 30th : 11 - 7, Sunday 31st : 10 - 4
Free, open to public

Monday 25 October 2010

portraits (CJ)

I started this project with the idea of completing a series of portraits in silhouette of various characters in the Pol, on chai (tea) cups.  Somehow that idea changed, morphed, evolved into papercuts, transfers, water prints, and landed at a tea set decorated with peacocks.
A national emblem (in India) the peacock is a symbol of beauty, the eternal soul, a perfect love, all things wonderful.  Some believe that man was created from the eyes of peacock feathers, others have a different story, but each connects somehow to the beauty of the birds...  An apt motif then, for creating beauty from the everyday...  Connecting serendipitously again to Amanda's list of coincidences, the song that Palak sings in Amanda's film calls for a beautiful bird to fly to heaven and ask the goddess to come down and dance garba - what a beautiful image - and one I hope to create by making the words of this song (in gujarati) fly up to heaven, via the teapot surface in gold and black.

Alongside this I am producing a series of portraits of people from the pol photographed during the Entry filming day, the door provides a continuity for the differing groups and allows the narrative of the film to be  captured, frozen in time.  I really am enjoying producing this series of work, it is incredibly labour intensive, which again, seems apt for the context of the work here in India.

The gujarati for each scene has been patiently provided by Palak again, what would we do without herself and Lokesh!!??

I hope to also manage a couple of papercuts this week, as there is one lady in particular whose portrait will provide an amazing papercut silhouette.  More to come.  I'll also upload images soon from the drawing workshop yesterday, as well as some images of the children's fired cups but see flickr as usual for recent images of work in progress.  We also had a new floor the other day.  Off to Laxmi again on Wednesday to fire the final set of pieces, so must get on with cutting gujarati text - it takes a long time!!!

Circus, cycles and serendipity (Steve)

The circus has come to town (we drove past it today, on the way to the AIAF press conference, which was a great success, and well attended by most of the local and national papers). Great circus posters, and bicycles are in evidence here too.

And speaking of cycles, my bicycle Hero is now fully flowered up and ready to re-assemble. Here is the completed saddle.

Yesterday was a crazy day, beginning with an early start (7.00a.m.) at the Ellis Bridge market - way too early - a children's drawing workshop in the afternoon, followed by an open air screening of Amanda's film 'Entry' at 9.00 in the evening.

An amazing find at the flea market.........

It's actually a baby walker, but bears an uncanny resemblance to Amanda's decorated door, which has become something of a local icon, and the focus of our activities in the Pol. I've bought six (for the princely sum of 30 rupees each) and these will become the 'framing' structures for the trail of flowered objects which will guide visitors to our exhibition at Arts Reverie.

Here is CJ 'mapping' the Pol during our drawing workshop - 42 children signed up for the workshop and 82 turned up, so it was a frenzied affair! At the end of the session the children were presented with their decorated cups and saucers from last weeks ceramic workshops.

And finally Amanda's open air projection in the Pol - an eager audience awaits the world premiere of 'Entry'. (See yesterday's post by Amanda, who bade a fond farewell to the Pol at 5.00 a.m. this morning.)