The Sandarbh Workshop for Site-Specific Art was one of the highlights of my time in India. It was founded by Mumbai artist Chintan Upadhyay in his home village of Partapur, in an attempt to show his friends and family what he does and what contemporary art is. (In India, contemporary art is more marginalized than here, especially in rural areas.)
The village hosts 10-day residencies a few times a year, bringing in artists from all over India and the world, and it’s mutually beneficial. The artists get to know the village in a way that wouldn’t be possible as tourists.
And the village residents are now so familiar with contemporary art that they’ve become good critical viewers of it.
The first 3 days are for getting to know the place. The hosts introduce you to different sites and communities, and show you where to get various materials.
You have the next week to make a site-specific piece. The hosts help you in any way they can.
I can’t think of a better way for an artist to travel.
Now Shreyas Karle is the director, and they’re branching out to other countries. They’ve just invited me to join them in Nijmegen, in the Netherlands this November, where they’re teaming up with a local arts org called Extrapool for another workshop.
I don’t know much about the Netherlands…..Amsterdam, Vermeer & Theo Jansen, global warming & flooding…. Apparently Nijmegen is the oldest city in the country, founded 2,000 years ago. But I guess I’ll know more soon.
P.S. Looks like Sandarbh India is accepting applications for a one month residency. See the link on their homepage.