Monday, October 20, 2008

Back from the Backwaters

Boat Boat Creation - photo by Shijeesh K.Seven students and two artist-lecturers from the Raja Ravi Varma College of Fine Arts co-created a five-day, site-specific Beauty of Water workshop along with myself and our hosts Antony Caral and family of Cheriyam Thuruthu, a backwaters island near Varappuzha, twenty kilometers north of Ernakulam in Kerala, India. This 38-image slideshow shows highlights, and my downloadable journal provides a narrative of the workshop, which began on 12 October 2008. This photo was taken by Shijeesh K.

We returned on Friday, full of spirit and satisfaction. Students completed six major works, all in collaborative style. The theme was appreciation for water. The majority of the materials we used were locally obtained with an eye toward environmental sustainability. We ate fresh local fish every day, prepared by chef Jacob, shown with his son and daughter near the end of the slideshow.

The workshop culminated a learning series held earlier this year. Guest speakers on topics related to art and water visited the school in Mavelikara and provided presentations for about half of the school’s 160 students. Twenty-two students also spent one day making site-specific art at the protected freshwater Lake Sasthamkotta in July.

Paper mache fish in leaf-relief lily pad boatThe slideshow progresses in a pattern. The first section presents the major art pieces students created with some shots of the making of the art pieces, in no particular order. Images emphasizing people are grouped toward the end of the slideshow. I took all of the photos except those in which I appear, which were taken by Shijeesh K., or someone borrowing his camera!

The downloadable journal I kept during the week illustrates activities with a handful of photos that are not in the slideshow, and narrates some experiences from each day. I received permission from everyone at the workshop to share this electronically.

We recorded much of the workshop on digital video. Students are now drafting a proposal to submit to me for an artistic documentary film they wish to create with the footage. Meanwhile my little camera captured short videos, a few of which appear in the blog entry below.

Participants and Supporters: Principal of Raja Ravi Varma College of Fine Arts in Mavelikara, Alappuzha district, Kerala, India, and internationally known artist, N.N. Rimzon, wholeheartedly supported the Beauty of Water learning series since its inception and gave enthusiastic encouragement for the workshop.

The following students co-created the workshop: Amal M., Aneesh V., Manjunath K.P., Pavel Suresh, Prajeesh P.P., Shijeesh K. and Shyne K. Artist-lecturers Shijo Jacob and A.P. Sunil facilitated the workshop with collaboration from artist Antony Caral and myself.

V. Sasikumar and lecturer Preeti Joseph supported the learning series and Preeti helped with workshop preparation. Antony and his family gave us our lovely art making location, including transportation to and from the island by boat, and the use of their homes during the workshop.

Beauty of Water Website

Friday, October 17, 2008

Three Beauty of Water – RRVarma Workshop Movies

The Beauty of Water workshop with fine arts college students in the Kerala backwaters was a delight! A handful of our experiences and some of the artworks were captured in the short videos shown below.

Still photos in the form of a slideshow will be available here shortly along with a photo-illustrated downloadable written narrative. The curriculum may also be published on the Greenmuseum website in the near future.

Beauty of Water Website