Community Art Grantees include:
AKSA, RANTI, BIHAR (2020 - Ongoing)
Grantee: Avinash Karn
In Ranti village, Bihar, contemporary Madhubani artist Avinash Karn has initiated AKSA, an Artreach Community Arts project with young women of marginalised communities in and around Ranti. Meeting regularly at Avinash’s studio, they have been experimenting with various media and telling stories from their life experiences, while also learning about new methods, artists and writers. A space for open dialogue is shaping up and we are excited to see it grow with the support of a grant from Seema Kohli Studios.
Avinash Karn is an artist based in Ranti village, Madhubani, Bihar. Previously he has conducted workshops for urban dwellers as well as in the form of community building initiatives with the tribal people in Jharkhand. He studied at Banaras Hindu University’s Department of Fine Arts but has kept his focus on the art of Madhubani with his art practise. He has received the Piramal Art Foundation arts residency (2016), has been supported by Artreach India for leading community art projects for Udbhav I (2015-16), Udbhav II (2018) and has received a Scholarship in the field of Madhubani Painting, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, New Delhi (2014-16). He has been commissioned to paint several large scale murals and his works have been exhibited and collected worldwide.
UDBHAV II, VARANASI, UP (2018)
Grantee: Avinash Karn
Avinash Karn initiated 'Udhbhav', in 2015-16, with the aim to bring Madhubani painting to tribal women of Chandidih Village, Jharkhand. In November 2018, he lead 3 participants through a 10 days' residential workshop, held at his studio in Varanasi. Participants created beautiful Madhubani paintings based on their explorations of the city. To conclude the residency, they had an Open Day, where the artists - Maini Devi, Sunita Devi and Radhesh Oraon shared their art works and inspiring residency experience.
SURKHEE, MIRZAPUR, UP (2018-19)
Grantee: Birender Yadav
This grant supports Birender's ongoing artistic engagement at the brick kiln sites, Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh. Birender will lead a year long series of workshops, mainly with children, to create artworks from the materials found around the site, building a sense of play and ownership through the objects they create. Together they will explore questions of identity, home and the sense of belonging, through art, storytelling and games. All artworks produced will remain with participants of the workshops.
Birender Yadav completed his MFA from College of Art, New Delhi, 2015 and BFA from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, 2013. He recently had his debut solo show ‘Idhar – Udhar' (Here-There) at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai in collaboration with 1 Shanthi Road , Banglore, 2017. He has exhibited in a number of group shows including 'Workers and Farmers: The panorama of resistance (prelude) future collaborations' curated by Premjish at Khoj international Artist’s Association, India Art Fair, presented by Anant Art, 2018, 'Id-entity', curated by Zero Gravity Collective, Art Pilgrim Live, 2018 among several others.
URDU PARK AXIAL MARGINS (2015-2019)
Grantee: Revue (Sreejata Roy and Mrityunjay Chatterjee)
For three years artist collective Revue has worked with 16 women at the SPYM Shelter in Urdu Park, Jama Masjid. The women are homeless and support multiple children on as little as Rs. 300 a week earned from begging. The living conditions are extremely basic, with one tin box as a shelter home, and no recreational, therapeutic or skill development activities provided.
With Sreejata these women have been introduced to various artistic techniques and have produced beautiful artworks that have been exhibited in Delhi at India Art Fair 2017, British Council and Bikaner House.
This artistic engagement has given them an outlet for individual creative expression, allowing them room to explore their own lives, their current space and relationships with people and the environment around them positively. The project has also resulted in two Open Day events at the night shelter, bringing new energy to the space. They are now working towards a community kitchen and kitchen garden.
UDBHAV I, CHANDIDIH, JHARKHAND (2015)
Grantee: Avinash Karn
In 2015, artist Avinash Karn led a year long engagement with tribal women of Chandidih village, Jharkhand. Proficient in Madhubani painting, Avinash shared his skills with the women and provided them materials to experiment with. Over the year, all the participants, none of whom had ever painted before, grew skilled in the art form. They painted from their life stories, about their work, village as well as their dreams and aspirations. These paintings were not just on paper but also as beautiful murals on their village huts. The visual narrative form has imparted a means of creative expression to all the participants, allowing them to explore their own identity and surroundings through a new language.
Paintings from this project have been exhibited in Delhi where they were well received, the women have also gone on to continue painting after the project's completion and have found this to be a means of added income as well.