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

The Kite Museum -Ahmedabad

Located in Sanskar Kendra, in the same building as the Ahmedabad City Museum (designed by Corbusier) the Kite Museum houses a wonderful collection of kites.
Established in 1985, the museum includes information about the history of kite making as well as some wonderful examples made from paper, nylon, cotton and bamboo.
The designs include imagery from Ahmedabad and India’s history as well as animal and geometric designs.
The intricacy of the designs is incredible, with each coloured piece of paper cut and stuck together to make up the kite. The contrast between the translucency, the delicateness of the paper and the tension created by the bamboo frame make them wonderful objects. A great platform for drawings and patterns of all kinds.
Every January the city of Ahmedabad has a festival of kites where people take to the roof tops of their houses to fly and fight their kites from dawn till dusk.
Flyers thread glass shards on the strings of their kites so they can do aerial battle with their neighbours and cut their strings. The sheer number of kites is said to be a wonderful sight.

The festival marks the days in the Hindu calendar when winter begins turning to summer, known as Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan.

Weeks before the festival craftsmen from places across India, including Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Agra, Mathura, Rampur, Bareilly and Lucknow, descend upon the city to make and sell their kites.

"After sunrise on the 14th of January, all rooftops in the city are crowded to capacity, as airbourne kites are pitted against one another. Cries of victory or defeat rend the air, and everyone enters the fray........The whole day slips by. Neither fatigue nor cut fingers, nor even the fading light of the setting sun deter the participants....".

'Under Ahmedabad Skies'. Kite Museum. Ahmedabad.

Watch 'Witness - Under the Ahmedabad Sky' - Part 1., Part 2., Part 3., Part 4.