Making Space:Sensing Place

In October 2009, along with artist Thurle Wright, I was awarded a Making Space:Sensing Place Fellowship; part of the HAT: Here and There International Exchange Programme, managed by A Fine Line:Cultural Practice. The Fellowship includes residencies with Britto Arts in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with Arts Reverie in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, with The V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London and with The Harley Gallery, Nottinghamshire. Working and collaborating with artists and craftspeople from the UK, Bangladesh and India, responding to the collections and spaces we encounter and sharing these experiences through a touring exhibition and educational workshops.

This blog, which is still developing and being added to, is a record of my experiences during the MS:SP Fellowship. Steven Follen.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Holi Fire

Bonfires, in preparation for the Holi celebrations, began to appear around the city today. The evening before Holi is Holika Dahan when bonfires burn to rid the place of the evil spirits. The ritual is a precursor to the mischievous and more commonly known festival of colour, where people take to covering each other in large quantities of wet and dry pigment.
The fires are situated, rather scarily, in the middle of throughfares around the narrow lanes of the Pols, close to houses, beneath telephone and electricity wires and in the middle of the roads!The people of the pol gather around the sites, talking and catching up.

As the daylight fades, the fires are lit. 
Individuals walk around the fire an odd number of times (3, 5 or 7) pour water from small ritual jugs, give prayers or chant Mantras and make offerings, mostly of coconut or cereal (Wheat, Gram or oats).Watch a film of the Holi celebrations here: Celebrating Holi
The ash from the fire will be collected and some placed on the body of individuals to protect from evil.
Learn more here: Holika Dahan