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

Exploring North of Ahmedabad

Elena, Carlotta and I hired a car and driver and took a day to explore some of the Temples and Step Wells to the north of Ahmedabad. The plan was to visit The Sun Temple at Modhera and
Rani Ki Vav -  the Queens Step Well - near the town of Patan, known for its double Ikat weaving technique called Patola. We would return to Ahmendabad stopping off to see the Adalaj Step Well.

It was a colourful day full of decorated surfaces, from the trucks which thundered along the roads to the trees that lined them, from the intricately carved details of the architecture to the markings on the camels.
Like in Bangladesh the trucks were intricately painted with colourful designs and instructions.

The trees which lined the roads were painted too - I suspect the white band to help drivers navigate the routes at night.

 Its interesting the way the eye connects the bands on the tree to create a line of white dashes.

Like the trucks other modes of transport were decorated with patterns- in this case to identify the owner.

As in Bangladesh it was good to take some time away from the city and gain an insight into life in the surrounding landscape. All around there was evidence of the meeting point or transition between traditional nomadic lifestyles and more modern developments.

These were Rabari men hearding their goats.

 The traditional dress of the Rabari men is that of a white cotton smock with high pockets and pleats at the back, their shirts are sometimes double breasted and a dhoti. the white may seem impractical in the dust but serves to reflect the heat. The turban ( Paghadi ) serves as towel, sunhat and pillow.
 This man was very tall!