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.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Adalaj Step Well

Already visually exhausted we stopped enroute back to Ahmedabad.
As the evening light began to warm to a more yellow hue and the heat of the day mellowed, we arrived at the beatiful and intricate Adalaj Step Well.
The step well was built in 1498 under the direction of Ruda wife of the Vaghela chief Virasimha. The well has steps descending down five storeys to a central shaft with balconies looking over the well. The cool chambers and balconies suggest that as well as a place to bathe and collect water, the wells were a social place where people met and talked.

The rich hues of the sunlight on the warm sandstone above ground contrast with the grey light through the layers beneath.

The arches and openings created interesting views and compositions. Framing the structure of the building.

The lines of perspective defining the space and the geometry of the building was stunning.


It seemed that almost every surface is decorated with fine carving. The style appears very different to Modehra and Rani Ki, which we had seen earlier in the day. The geometric patterns and detailing appear more reminiscent of the Jama Masjid and the Mughal tombs in Ahmedabad as well as the carving and architecture of the Sarkej Rosawhere the islamic geometry is set alongside the figurative style of the Jain carvers.

As well as geometric patterns and scrolls motifs the carvings include panels showing the Navagrahas, along with sculptures of the seated King and scenes of birds and mythical animals.


The Well contains a number of shrines.