Posts tagged art
Diwali is the festival of lights, India’s most important holiday. Like any other festival, when the Indians celebrate, they mean business. Not only literally (on the first day of Diwali all businesses start their financial year), but mainly just by taking it into the extreme. Imagine a combination between Christmass and new years, multiply it by three and add India in the equation and you get what I found in Udaipur, the last city I visited in Rajasthan. Lighted plastick palmtrees, beard competitions, foodstalls, sweets and a lot of fireworks, all under a roof of glittering and gleaming decorations, makes the scene of Indian families visiting their relatives. Since I had no relatives in Udaipur, I decided to start searching for talent. As Udaipur is also known as one of the most romantic cities in India, my quest was aimed for creative expression with love as inspiration.
Meet Sharmila Rathore. There are a few galleries in Udaipur with nice art, but most of them sell more or less copies of the traditional miniature-paintings that you can find anywhere in Rajasthan. Sharmila’s ‘Art Issue’ drew my attention because she makes a fusion between contemporary and traditional art. Next to that, she also has a noticeable style that seems to speak directly from the hart. Her paintings are inspirational, spiritual and what’s more: the subject of many of her paintings… is love!
Music by Shariq Parvez, full version here.
It was the first day of Diwali when I took this video, but fortunately the firecracker war outside had reached some kind of temporary truce. Shariq Parvez, the musician in this video, finds that a temporary truce is sometimes difficult to negotiate when you have two young kids roaming the house. ‘And I do meditations!’. Fortunately we could make this recording in an unguarded moment at his home in Udaipur. Shariq gives meditation classes with his own made Meditation Guitar, a fusion between the slide guitar and the traditional Indian Sarod. Visit www.meditationguitar.in for more information. Contact the GTP to get in touch with Sharmila!
Coincidence is the engine of each adventure. Helmut, an Austrian adventurer I met in Jaisalmer, knows this as no other. At one point in his life, he decided that it was a good idea to take the oldest and cheapest car he could find (8 horsepower) and drive it from Sri Lanka back to Austria. Naturally, he had to dodge any hill that had a slope of more than 5%. This is how he one day found himself in Jaisalmer where coincidence and the desert’s sand made his car brake down right in the middle of some local musicians. Although they most likely didn’t have a song for this particular occasion, they seemed knowledgeable and helped Helmut to find a mechanic. By the time his car was fixed, Helmut’s love for the region and the people had set in motion the events that would change his life. When he got back in Austria, he sold his house and travelled straight back to his friends in Jaisalmer, where he started Artist Hotel. A place to benefit the nomadic musicians who settled here after modernity caught up with their life-style.
The golden city in Rajasthan, Jaisalmer, gets its name from the yellow sandstone by which its giant fort stands out from the desert surrounding it. Highlight in this outpost of the Thar desert is a camel ride through the sand dunes and harsh surroundings that make up the dry border-area of India and Pakistan. When I decided to take a trip for a few days on a camel called Papaya, I realized that traveling through this harsh surroundings (these days filled with windmills) must have been no regular picnic. The troubadours of the desert had the important task of spreading the knowledge which would give people the best chances of survival. While entertaining the people, they educated. By passing it on within their cast, they became a living library of ancient knowledge. Now this cultural heritage is slowly diminishing, if not for the efforts of people like Helmut with places like ‘Artist Hotel’.
The song sang in the video is about how a peacock can predict that you are about to get soaking wet. Just so you know! Contact the Artist Hotel via their website. Lonely Planet review here. Profits go to local educational projects, ad hoc caretaking (e.g. blankets in the winter) and giving the musicians a stage to perform.
The GTP has been dangling on a very thin rope this last month. Or maybe not the project as such, but more the technical expression of it. It’s not that surprising, considdering that I myself almost got a system overload going through some of the beautiful, mindblowing areas of this country. But where my brain only just could process the information, my laptop wouldn’t take it anymore and decided to block the Indian world and me out from its most inner files. Fortunately, a local geek was able to breath life in my heavy companion once more and I could refresh most of its memmory. A memmory that was already full of what one could call ‘the beat of India’. Being in this country has not given me a single boring day. On the contrary. With millions of people, it is sometimes difficult to find the time and the place to be with your own thoughts. India seems to be the stage for a never ending play. One scetch even more bisar than the last.
The first talent to turn the spotlight on, not surprisingly, is therefore not the usual GTP-suspect, but a creative talent nonetheless. Meet stage director Rudradeep and let his words and his world inspire you.
Music by Ustad Hanif and two of his students from the ‘Delhi Music Emprium’ in Changspa, Delhi. Their video can be found here.
Although Rudradeep is a gifted ‘scatcher’, which he does sometimes to prepare for his plays, he has learned to trust on his instincts and let his plays form while he works on them. Therefore, none of his creative work can be purchased. He is a talented upcoming stage-directer nonetheless and for any kind of information on Indian performing arts, Rudradeep is the guy to talk to and learn from. Contact the GTP to get in contact with Rudradeep!