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.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Sonargaon and Panam - Panam

In the late 19th Century Panam - Nagar was developed within the old city of Sonargaon's envions as a new commercial center, trading in cotton fabrics," English piece goods". The cloth merchants who lived here built extravagant residential houses and palaces, drawing inspiration from colonial and european styles. Political changes altered the landscape and today much of Panam is now in ruins, although people still live in some of the properties. What remains of the buildings demonstrates, through the materials and the designs, the wealth of the patrons, their international links and the skills of the artisans.
At the far edge of the town we stopped for some indian tea at a small shop. Behind the teashop some children were inventing a great city with lumps of rocks, brick, and plaster, discussing and arguing about the placement of the walls.
As we walked back through the buildings other children were playing with an old tyre. Amongst the many thoughts and images filling my head from the day, one was that the day had been about experiencing inventiveness, imagination and creativity, with all manner of materials, often with minimal resources. Opulence and poverty. Pride and modesty.