Ravi Kumar Chaurasia
NEW DELHI: The most palpable thing about art spaces is their rapture. It’s their democratic composition that opens up the intellect to the brilliancy of unrevealed perspectives. But as you go deeper into the subtext of an artist's vision, you realize the multiplicity of possibilities. We entered one such art ecosystem recently, only to leave the place an hour later besotted with the influx of artistic visions that were hugely demonstrative, acutely seeped in self-awareness, along with being futuristic and brazen.
It’s the home of The Dharti Art Residency, a three-month-long annual interdisciplinary arts residency by Serendipity Arts Foundation. It gives artists an opportunity to engage with themselves and those around them. Four conscientious art makers are at the helm of this project—Ravi Kumar Chaurasiya, Jagrut Raval, Khushbu Patel and Pannaga Jois. Also on board is critc Kamayani Sharma. Chaurasiya’s bafflement with administrative complacency and lack of social responsibility made him fashion a city scape out of e-waste. Hailing from Banaras, where his father owns a tea stall, Chaurasiya’s research in waste started when he came to Delhi. To him, the city looked like a big dumping yard, of which, electronic scrap was a large component. “When it’s disintegrated, it produces pernicious chemicals that’s harmful to the health and environment,” says Chaurasiya.
He spent a lot of time with scrap dealers and found that despite there being ways of recycling e-scrap, not many were interested in doing the same. His work comes in the form of a web of the city created with e waste comprising motherboards, wires and metal. On top of the piece, there is an empty ground, something we won’t see much of in the future owing to electronic technology, modern advancement and development.
In the room next door, sits another idea waiting to be hatched. Jagrut Raval stands in darkness with a few live screens with silver luminance. It’s the rarely talked about metal, bismuth, discovery in the 15th century, that has caught his interest. With a little bit of human intervention, the metal takes beautiful crystal forms. They look like buildings emerging out of the ground. “In my piece, I am creating landscapes out of bismuth. It will be an immersive experience with projections,” he says.
The thought of showing landscapes comes from his interest in space research, to look at what kind of lands humanity will move towards. At CEPT University, he teaches a course on speculative future. “Speculation has been talked about in literature, science, finance and art. It’s very important to talk about what’s going to happen in the future as we spend a lot of time discussing the past,” says the artist.
Another curious piece stands in the lobby, right outside Raval’s room. A bed arranged vertically on the wall of a cubical structure makes us stop in wonderment. Just then, Pannaga Jois introduces herself. She is documenting the idea of her generation living like nomads, unlike her parent’s who lived in one place for a lifetime. This idea has been executed by her by living within an ever-changing cube for three months. “All my movements were being recorded. It will be consolidated into a short video showing the evolution of the constantly changing space,” says Jois.
Khushbu Patel’s works have taken her into an inward journey of the body. She sits on the staircase with a fine brush soaked in blood red colour, painting, what looks like, veins in the marble. This is her way of directing attention to things associated with the body that people consider repulsive like sweat, hair and menstrual blood. “We fear the idea of defilement. There is insecurity surrounding it. The veins in the marble look just like the veins that run through our body, and I’ve used that as reference. Visitors have started flocking with eyes full of questions. The art pieces won’t be the artiste’s anymore. From ‘mine’, they will become ‘we’.