It’s been a busy few months and the new beginning I made with Drawing Room is slowly unfolding into some exciting projects lined up.
Right from the start, my dream has been to be able to create Drawing Room as a travelling entity that can go to anywhere that children may be seeking an opportunity to make art. Free from the boundaries of classes, or schedules and timetables. I wanted to be fluid with the destination, and open to going to children, rather than having them come to me at all times.
I’ve been working at expanding the reach of my interactions through workshops and private sessions across cities, to make this as true as possible. So far we’ve had workshops and private sessions in Bangalore and Mumbai (see here and here) with incredible regularity and it has been all kinds of exciting!
Later this week, I’m off to Mumbai once again for private sessions, after which I’m taking Drawing Room to Goa in September. Stay tuned for more information about that!
Thank you all for the support and encouragement all along. I would like to share a peek into Drawing Room with you all, to see how we unpack ideas and allow them to take form into stories told through drawings and painting.
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Collaborating with artists from various backgrounds of the visual arts is one of the best ways to begin to see things in new and different ways. This has personally always added important insights into my own journey. This was something I wanted to introduce to the children too.
In November last year, I had the chance to meet and work with Sarah Pupo artist in residence at the WAA residency. It was during the time I discovered Barney Saltzberg’s Beautiful Oops! that Sarah and I got talking about working with accidents within the artistic practice. This definitely wasn’t a coincidence and I took this as an opportunity to introduce her work to the children in an interactive session.
This was a fantastic opportunity for the kids to visit Sarah’s studio at the WAA residency in Bandra, Mumbai, where she shared with them her work process. Sarah’s work integrates painting and drawing, installation and self-taught, provisional animation techniques. Her approach to making things prioritizes intuition, associative thinking and the flux of chance and control.
This workshop was an introduction to materials like watercolour and ink and the process of painting wet into wet. So we got the kids to make a splash and build a story or a picture from there on. We used drops of water on paper and added ink, salt to it and tried various methods of random mark making. From there, they imagined what their splashes and blobs might be. It was immensely enjoyable for the kids, Sarah and I, to then collaborate and create a series of drawings that told the story of each of the child’s characters. The outcome could have been compiled to make a rudimentary flip-book of sorts, just a few steps short of animation.
She then presented to them a few of her animation videos, which was followed by a walk through her studio setup which gave them an insight into how she turns her ink and watercolour drawings into animated moving forms.
Understanding how visual forms can transcend formats and mediums, often moving from one to the next — paper and paint, to drawings, to animation — seems to come very easily and simply, to children. And it made me wonder about their intuitive sense of viewing visuals outside the boundaries of the formats in which they may be originally created — a skill many of us have to re-learn as adults in the practice of art.
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Layered fragments of Khirki Extension and Shaadipur. Depot. Marking, weaving, stories through this short video. Here’s bringing to My Notes of Remembering Elsewhere.
Notes On Remembering Elsewhere from Niyati Upadhya on Vimeo.
KHOJ Peers 2013.
May 2013 came with some overwhelming surprises one of which was a much awaited residency at Khoj in Delhi as part of the Peers 2013 Artist in residence.
A packed Suitcase with my essentials and a bunch of art material, and I was ready to begin my month of discovery at Khoj.
Khoj New Delhi 2013.
My work so far has always drawn me into the intricate details of the narratives that exist deeper within the lives of people I see on a daily basis, in the citys i have traveled to over the past few years, I have watched, observed, interacted with and documented the lives and work of practitioners of pre-modern. that dot the cityscape, jotting down ideas that I have later woven into narratives of contemporary urban street culture into my work.
During my time at Khoj, I explored the urban street culture at Shadipur Depot which is home to an assortment of street artists and performers, from singers to puppeteers and magicians.
I interacted with a slew of Shadipur’s singers, puppeteers and magicians, spending my time documenting their work, their lives and their home. The work that I developed at Khoj resulted in a translation of my experiences in Shadipur on to a wall in my studio, which played the role of a page in my visual diary.
Matchboxes, as faded bits of memories help translate the experiences through my interactions with the people of Khirki Village.Marking patterns of my memory on the wall of my studio, was like unfolding stories.
how and when does an experience become a memory?
The Cult of the Street is a series of visual diaries that documents the ‘professional underbelly’ of the Indian city. It is an essay in mixed media, exploring the Naayi and the Had-vaid through photograph, drawing, video, sculpture and sound. The stories of the bone setter and the barber are sometimes poetic, sometimes dark, and always poignant.
Poster Design By Mana Dhanraj.