Sharanya Iyer

Project 560

Grant Period: Two months

Sharanya Iyer is an architect and urban designer who runs Studio Verge on Alexandria Street in Richmond Town. She is interested in history and urban forms, works on projects with INTACH and teaches design in colleges. In her practice, she strives to respond and engage with the local context and environment of Bangalore while creating buildings. She brings her keen interest of both history and urban landscapes to this project.

Sharanya will lead this project in collaboration with her son Ikshvah and nine fellow mothers and their eight/ nine year old children, in the neighbourhood of Richmond Town. The other mother- child pairs are: Amanda Miller and Aasha, Puja Gurung and Sasha, Tahera Peeran and Aalia, Tanya Alexander and Aditri, Cauvery Patil and Shreshta, Vidya Amberker and Alaana, Shivmala and Mrinali, Subhashini Tripati and Sharanya, and Jaya Kumar and Megha. They come from diverse backgrounds with varied periods of residency in Richmond Town from six to 22 years.

In Richmond Town, many streets retain their English/British names such as Alexandria, Alfred, Arab, Bribe, Curley, Kingston, Langford, Murder, Richmond, Rose and Wellington, to name a few. The area is dotted by the Baldwin institutions, All Saints Church, Masjid- E-Askari, historical tombs, Richmond Institute, Johnson Market, and other colonial bungalows and modern buildings. The area also has an interesting and diverse demography that constitutes Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Kodavas, Anglo-Indians and South Indians.

 In this project, tentatively titled Richmond Town Diaries, the team will embark on an enquiry into the history, origin and significance of five specific lanes in the neighbourhood - Langford Road, Curley Street, Murder Lane/Norris Road, Alexandria and Richmond Road. Guided by Sharanya, the children will explore old maps and books on the city, look at archival documents and photographs of the neighbourhood and document oral histories and memories through interviews with older and newer residents. Following this research, children will be encouraged to create an artwork/collage for each street, drawing from old maps, photographs and the oral narratives. These artworks will also be accompanied by text that will showcase the history of each street and the unique stories that might emerge.

The grant will culminate in a guided street walk and an exhibition of the artworks that will be displayed on each street. The Grantee’s deliverables to IFA along with the final report will be still and video documentation of the exhibition and digital copies of the artworks.

This project is made possible with support from India Foundation for the Arts, under the Project 560 programme and partnered by Citi India.