Monologues and Dialogues: residency of hope (Part I)

An hour from Neral station on central line of Mumbai local train amidst a range of mountains sits a quite picturesque village of Malegaon, with a small group of primitive but well-equipped houses. Far end of these houses and in between the rice fields, a modest white housing finds its way to a group of artists, basking in the evening sun after the day well spend exploring the mountains around. They are very young, and casual to a 'casual' eye. They sit down and joke, mostly laughing at themselves and subconsciously thinking of a new creation that would be brought to life soon. This is the second year when they have come to this small nature cove, to have a dialogue with nature, but mostly with their own selves, away from the daily uncertainties of artist life. They wish to shed their inhibitions and cores of survival and for once let the surroundings dictate the visuals and concepts.

It is not the first time that artists are coming together. Artists have always come together and created sometimes subtle, many times revolutionary changes with their groups, we come to know about many such groups in history. These groups became what they were when time was looked back at, and became important stalwarts in understanding of their creations and art development as a whole. But history is not always to just know and study, it also exists to witness a phenomenon when it is taking place, as I can see with this enthusiastic group of artists that have been coming and bringing together artists in their residency 'Dialogue with nature'. A strong feeling of being part of something very important, revolutionary has been haunting me since last couple of days, after I stayed in this residency that is making history. The challenges of survival in a globalized world have made everyone think, and this small group has formed a think tank of its own. With commercialization of art in every form, and de-commercialization of economy, the question of what to do with the art creation is a constant inquest for the artists. The formation of this group and idea of this residency are a beautiful breakthrough in this inquiry and thus creates a deep interest towards study.

Begun as an activity of friends who struggled to have a fair dialogue with each other, these friends decided to stay together devoid of influences, this activity gives a new perspective to the participants. Although very close to Mumbai come a place which has no range, no internet and lots and lot of open space! Sitting in a farm, climbing the mountains, plunging into cold streams away from complex theories give a spirited boost to their minds, and thus come works that are completely tangent to their styles. Nature becomes the hero and thus come about fantastic land-arts, landscapes, site-specific works and more.

After exhaustive days, the nights have movie sessions and discussions, which this time were done in an interesting space of swimming pool without water, giving an ethereal experience. The artists monologues this time became opulent, and the dialogues turn argumentative, making the atmosphere under the canopy of stars quite serious, which is suddenly broken by a jiggled impression by someone and the group breaks into laughter. This has been the routine of the week for this year's residency and has brought about some outstanding artworks.

From by couple of days with these young minds, I have gathered a profound experience and exuberant vibes of newness and life. From where I see, a history is being created and the coming together of these thinkers and doers is much more significant than what they have or would create. Conversations of fellow beings that takes place in unhindered spaces like these creates hope of understanding and togetherness that is precious. With poets and dramatists, with drummers and guitarists, with mouth organs and morsing, and songs that melt in your ears, the night sinks in all the differences and voices out opinions, that bear the future of aesthetic thinking of tomorrow. Yet by no means is this activity amateur. The organizers have taken great care to document every move, every pursuit and the consequential result which will soon be made into a polished and well edited documentary.


I dedicate this beautiful experience to Milind Shid, who has continued with his pursuit, with exquisitely managed residency in his farm space. His friends and fellow admins, Darshan, Charan, Rahul, Raj and a number of people who have been taking great pains to execute the well planned act. I would putting in elaborate details of the artists works in the second part of this blog.

We shall witness the ripples of such these activities in decades to come, of artists working for artists and of unsaid histories. Of activities that are so unadulterated and non-commercialized. These groups are like wet marks, which vanish with time, but hold great significance to their contemporary; they create geniuses and lives of the feet that bore them. 


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