Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Volunteering for Wall-art at Bhujodi, Kutch.

One of the reasons I went to Kutch was with the idea of volunteering for wall-art. I didn't know how and where but just knew I wanted to and that I would! Luckily the Director of Khamir, Meera, put me in touch with one of the more influential people in Bhujodi village, called Chaman Bhai, and I was all set for my wall-art there.

I went around with Chaman Bhai exploring different options of walls which could be painted and also talking to the village people about what they would like to see on the wall. I wanted an expansive canvas for wall-art and finally found one: the facade of the house belonging to Dayabhai Ala, an award winning weaver. The wall was painted with an advertisement of JK Cement which I got white washed. There was also a notice board on the wall and it was the main wall of the village where people would gather for important meetings and to read instructions/notices, etc, on the notice board.

The wall was 22 feet wide and 13 feet height and I completed that in 4 days. At the end of it, each muscle of mine was sore, and I had tanned 5 shades, but every bit was worth it. I stood on a drum to paint the upper parts of the wall, with a constant buzz of inquisitive children, village elders and wandering cows, who tried to chew the cardboard box in which I had kept the paints, twice.

Bhujodi is a village entirely of handloom weavers. And they also follow the legacy of the 15th century saint-poet, Kabir. So some of the motifs they wanted on the wall was Sant Kabir, a loom, a doha of the saint, and the motifs used in weaving which is typically geometric patterns, as you will see in the images. The doha the village people wanted was 'Patta toota daali se, le gayi pawan udaye, abke bichhde kab mile, dur padenge jaaye', which means leaves fall from trees and the wind carries them far away, and that is the way of life too. In the earlier days, the weaver community  had a symbiotic relationship with the nomadic Rabari community of shepherds. The shepherds would provide wool for weaving to the weavers and the weavers would in turn provide temporary shelter to the nomads. So I also incorporated motifs of the nomadic tribes in the wall-art. Let me take you through the images.


The completed wall. 


Vankar Dayabhai Ala, the house owner and award winning artisan/weaver.


Peacock and bird motifs used in embroidery by the nomadic Rabari community.


The Rabari herdsman with a camel and goat. The cactus represents the vegetation of the region. 




The Tree of Life made with weaving motifs. 


Sant Kabir and his tanpura. 


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The sun and the clouds.


Sant Kabir's doha, Patta toota daali se, le gayi pawan udaye, abke bichhde kab mile, dur padenge jaaye, which means leaves fall from trees and the wind carries them far away, and that is the way of life too. 


The loom. 


That's me beaming that the mural is finally over. 



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