For research into the history and evolution of public transport in Kerala and the creation of a performance that will be staged on a bus. Engaging with local contexts, histories, literature and the everyday lives of people, the project will employ the bus as a travelling performance space that aims to explore new frameworks for performance and cultivate new audiences.
For research towards the construction of a raft-like structure in collaboration with bamboo artisans and boat-builders in Guwahati and the curation of a journey on the Brahmaputra, during which the raft will function as a mobile, habitable receptacle to gather, share and document stories, songs and local knowledge about food and ecology.
For research at various archives of science and astronomy and at Jain religious archives in India leading to a multi-part art project titled The Weather Inside Me. The project will trace the history of science, weather and solar observations in India from pre-colonial to post-colonial times. The religious archives will be referenced to investigate the centrality of the sun in Jainism and its resulting impact on time and memory in our lives.
For the sturdy of vintage educational film footage the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) archives, produced as part of the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) programme. This programme was established by NASA and ISRO in 1975-76 to impart a ‘modern and scientific outlook to rural India’. The fellowship outcome will be a symposium and, subject to availability of further funding from other sources, a film using the found footage.
For research towards a film on work songs, known as Li, sung by the inhabitants of Phek village in Nagaland. These work songs and chants have no lyrics but are vocalizations, grunts and sighs that are transformed into polyphonic melodies, while their music makers are busy harvesting paddy. This research is a part of a larger project to document and share everyday music and rhythms from across India.
For research into a shawl painting tradition from Nagaland called Tsungkotepsu, towards an examination of the visual, material and social cultures of the Naga tribes. The study of Tsungkotepsu, as woven form of expression, will enhance understanding of how traditions reinvent themselves by merging with ‘larger’ traditions to ensure their own survival. The research will result in a monograph,a film, and the creation of puppets inspired by Tsungkotepsu motifs.
For the research and documentation of printed images from popular Urdu literature produced in the first half of the 20th century, leading to the creation of a curated website. This project will examine when and why Urdu went from being a mainstream language reflecting the cultural plurality of North India, to one associated with Islam.
For research towards a book on the works of Kalam Patua, a patachitra artist. This project will trace his journey from a practitioner of the traditional painting of Patuas to his transition as painter whose work is displayed in modern art galleries, particularly after the revival of the Kalighat pat in the 1990s.
For research into the community tradition of kirtan singing through a study of five kirtan mandalis located in South Delhi. The project will focus on women’s mandalis, while exploring the dynamics of kirtans as a community performance and an arts practice. It will attempt to understand how gender, caste and socio-economic composition are reflected in the kirtan mandali aesthetics and how that in turn shapes the experience of community for its participants.
For research and documentation of the visual cultures of Northeast India, focusing on contemporary arts practices in Shillong, Guwahati and Silchar. The research will recalibrate the centre-periphery dichotomy that comes into play when engaging with the art history and practices of the Northeast, by looking at the ‘regional modernisms’ in the context of the North-East geographical and cultural affinities with South Asia and South East Asia. The project will result in an online archive, which will function as an alternative resource to supplement currently available pedagogies of art history and criticism.