Volume 37, Winter 2008
Sohrai- Harvest Festival Issue
Newsletter of INTACH (Hazaribagh Chapter)
During May we flew to Europe, Putli, Philomina, Juliet, and myself. We were going for another mural painting project and the exhibition of artworks created by artists of the Tribal Women Artists Cooperative. We flew from Ranchi to Delhi and then via Amsterdam to Venice. We were met at the airport of this beautiful city named after the ancient Phoenecians in its lagoon on the Adriatic by Daniela and Peter Popham and their son Gabriel. Two idyllic days in Venice under the summer sun, the blue-green waters of the lagoon, the hundred winding alleys where history had moved for millennia, and then to Udine where the artists would paint the stunning murals. An exhibition was held at the Girasole Gallery Udine and a large exhibition was later held the Luigi Pigorini Museum in Rome. The project is described in detail in this issue of Mayur. I wish you all “Good Reading”!
- Bulu Imam
Second Bacsa Cemetery Restoration Project
The successful completion of the first project for restoration of the Old British Graveyard (1790) awarded last year to Intach by the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA) has now now been continued in a second project for the old British graveyard at Hurhuru (1816) a couple of miles south. This graveyard consists of over a hundred and twenty ornate old British tombs. Some tombs are of Egyptian pyramidal (or Needle) design, others of elaborate Indo-Saracenic architecture, others of conventional monumental design. The BACSA one-year project taking up the first phase of restoration commenced in April and will continue it is planned in a second year’s work to bring the graveyard dating from 1816 to 1840s to original condition. All Souls Day, 2nd Nov. was celebrated in the cemetery by the Chapter, and also at the INTACH-BACSA restored Old British Graveyard of 1790.
Museum Renovation Project
The Sanskriti Museum and Art Gallery received a grant to develop a new wing from the Department of Culture, Jharkhand in April for which it expresses thanks. This new section displays dokra metal castings, hand embroidered ledra quilts, bronze and wood carvings of Sohrai ghodas, a photo-gallery of TWAC exhibitions, and other art. The new section is equipped with modern hanging rail system for displaying art-works, and Philips lighting system, closed-circuit TV for projecting research DVDs and film has also been installed. The display of Jharkhand’s pre-historic heritage and early migration routes is undergoing specific display arrangements presentation including charts and projection facility. The museum thanks TWAC for internal support in achieving the project goals. The museum located in the Sanskriti main premises has gained local official recognition and the road to it has been officially named Sanskriti Museum Road in an official function by Shri S.N.Singh MLA (Cong.)
Tribal Women Artists Cooperative – Exhibitions of Tribal Art Abroad
· An exhibition of the Khovar and Sohrai tribal paintings on paper was held in April 2008 at Bonn in Germany. The exhibition was organized by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and a talk was given during the opening by Johannes Laping of SARINI/FIAN. Susanne Gupta gave a talk on our region and its art and showed the The One-Eared Elephant of Hazaribagh which she directed. The Chapter thanks Mr.Laping and Ms Gupta, Dr.Daniel Wolf and Prof Beate Jessel the President of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundestag fur Naturschutz / BfN). Two further exhibitions have taken place, arranged by Gossner Mission at the cities of Norden and Emden in northern Germany between July-Aug, 2008.
· three-day exhibition of our tribal art ( 11th-14th Sept.) was held at the Confluence Gallery in Twisp, Methow Valley (Washington State, USA). The framed paintings were displayed along with sculpture from Africa. Other exhibitions in Washington State are being planned, including the capital, Seattle. The Chapter thanks Mr Joseph Reid of Methow for his help in setting up these exhibitions.
· TWAC has been invited for a mural painting programme and exhibition of its art at the museum of Family Michel Sabatier at La Rochelle in western France in 2010.
Projected Exhibition at the Brunei Gallery
(School of Oriental and African Studies, London)
Very much at the planning stage an exhibition is envisioned at the Brunei Gallery in London in 2010. Additionally a seminar is hoped to be held to discuss the various issues surrounding the art project such as indigenity, continuity of cultural traditions etc. We are thankful to Mr.Robert Wallis and Mr.John Hollingworth of SOAS for staring the dialogue.
ICOMOS World Report 2006/2007 on Monuments and Sites in Danger
Edited by Michael Petzet and John Ziesemer
The Report by Bulu Imam carries a detailed note on the cluster of twenty temples at Telkupi which was submerged by the Panchet Dam in 1962 without attempt at removal. The temple no.10 of this cluster has avoided complete destruction and is standing still in the silted dam. The Chapter is trying to draw the attention of UNESCO to excavate the site. This cluster of temples was considered the oldest and finest record of Jain temples and statuary in India and dated to the 9th Century.
Rome Chapter of INTACH started
We are happy to announce that as a result of the Convener’s suggestion Intach has invited Ms Daniela Bezzi to become the Convenor of a new Chapter to be opened shortly in Rome. Ms Bezzi we hope will ccept the position and our Chapter warmly congratulates her. Ms Bezzi recently arranged the TWAC Johar Jharkhand! mural painting project and exhibition at Udine, Italy (Vicino Lontano Cultural Assocn., Girasole Gallery), and the following exhibition in Rome (Pigorini Museum). She is the wife of Peter Popham who had been the India Correspondent of The Independent (UK) in Delhi from 1997-2002 and is currently since 2002 the Rome Correspondent of the same paper. Ms Bezzi has to her credit the arranging of several important cultural programmes in India and Italy.
Kali for Women (Zubaan)
The Kali for Women has expressed a desire to have an exhibition of our tribal art in Delhi during December or thereafter. They have also expressed the wish to make the 2010 Kali for Women Diary with the theme of photographs of Khovar and Sohrai artists of Hazaribagh painting.
Painting of cloth murals in Udine at the Vicino Lontano Cultural Festival, Conference, Girasole Gallery Exhibition & Exhibition Of Jharkhand’s Tribal Art at Museum Luigi Pigorini in Rome
Flying from Ranchi-Delhi-Amsterdam Bulu Imam and the three artists Philomina Tirkey, Juliet Imam, and Putli Ganju of Tribal Women Artists Cooperative (TWAC) reached Venice on the 11th May and were met by Ms.Daniela Bezzi and her husband Peter and their son Gabriel at the airport. Two days were spent sight-seeing in Venice from where they went to Udine for the painting of three historic Sohrai murals in mud on mud treated cloth at the venue of the Vicino Lontano Cultural festival and conference. Here an exhibition of the Khovar and Sohrai paintings was held at the famed Girasole Gallery of Udine along side the mural painting by the artists at the venue of the Conference. Bulu Imam was one of the main speakers at the Conference on the subject of threat to cultural continuity in Jharkhand before a large and distinguished audience. The murals, paintings, and embroidered quilts exhibited were transported by air to Rome where an exhibition of four months of the Khovar and Sohrai art of Jharkhand took place (22 May-28 Sept.) at the Museum Luigi Pigorini, the National Museum of Pre-Historic Ethnography.
The exhibition in Rome comprised the Udine mural paintings on cloth and other cloth murals, standard size paintings on hand-made art paper in mud, embroidered quilts called ledra, bronze metal castings, various kinds of hand-painted cards, and very large format photographs of the Jharkhand painted villages, Sarnas, and countryside by international photographers Robert Wallace (USA) and Mario Popham (UK). The exhibition is curated solely around the Hazaribagh art forms of Khovar (marriage art) and Sohrai (harvest art). Three large murals on cloth of eight feet breadth and six feet height were painted on special mud treated cloths prepared by French artist Isabelle Delhais, and were painted before the exhibition by the women artists at the 16th cent. Renaissance town of Udine north of Venice, on the invitation of the Vicino Lontano Cultural Festival of that city. The three artists who painted the murals were well-known Jharkhandi artists Ms Putli Ganju, Ms Philomina Tirkey, and her daughter Juliet Fatima Imam. These artists have already gained a reputation for painting large murals in Sydney, Berlin and Geneva and are currently again on invitation to paint in architectural context in Berlin next summer. The team was led by art conservator and researcher Bulu Imam who is also the convener of INTACH at Hazaribagh. In Rome the team were the guests of Fr.Gian Mario, Father General of the Christian Doctrine Fathers, at their residence at Santa Maria, Monticelli, for which we express our abundant thanks.
The exhibition at the Museum Pigorini featured around two hundred paintings, embroidered quilts, bronze sculpture and pohotographs which have been meticulously curated and individually annotated in Italian language. This is the first exhibition of its kind in Italy from India. The exhibition features exclusive art works from the collection of the Tribal Women Artists Cooperative of Hazaribagh, and had been curated by famous curator Ms Daniela Bezzi in cooperation with the Sanskriti Museum and Art Gallery of which Bulu Imam is Director. TWAC , which was formed in 1993 by Shri Imam has had over forty international exhibitions in all major art capitals of the world to date. In 2000 five women artists from TWAC painted fourteen murals in Sydney for the Australian Museum, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Etc. The Film by Justin Imam on the Tana Bhagat Puja at the rockart site of Thethangi was screened at the Museum before a distinguished gathering. It has been forwarded by INTACH to UNESCO for Intangible heritage.
The Museum Pigorini, built in the 1930’s by Benito Mussolini, is one of the largest museums in Europe, and spacious premises were made available for this exhibition. Over five hundred elite intellectuals of Rome attended the opening on 22 May and thousands are seeing the exhibition daily. The exhibition received wide television and newspaper coverage in Italy, and it has also been reported in a special feature by Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times (26.6.2008). A report by Peter Popham, Rome Correspondent of The Independent (UK) appeared in the Tehelka magazine (Saturday 5 July, 2008); and an article on the exhibition was written by Ms Daniela Bezzi, which appeared in Confidenze magazine in Italian (26-24 June, 2008). Professor Fabio Scialpi, who teaches Indian Religions and Philosophy at the University of Rome, in a recent letter to Shri Imam congratulated him on the exhibition. Professor Scialpi will be visiting Hazaribagh during the Sohrai festival in October. The exhibition at the Pigorini Museum will end with a special function over the weekend 27-28 Sept. The exhibition had been visited on 8th Sept. by Rebecca Hossack whose gallery in London (Rebecca Hossack Gallery) proposes to hold an exhibition in the coming year.
The Johar! Project
The full program of art events, talks and seminar in Italy took place:
In Udine, from May 13th till 18th for the Event Vicino/Lontano – Premio Terzani 2008
Piazza Libertà, under the Loggia - Johar! The mural
Live performance in the Sohrai wall painting tradition starring the artists Putli Ganju, Philomina Tirkey Imam e Juliet Fatima Imam from the Tribal Women Artists’ Cooperative of Hazaribagh-
From May 13th till 18th, Girasole Gallery, Riva Castello 1/A - Johar! The bridal room
Collective art show by the Tribal Women Artists’ Cooperative of Hazaribagh-India
Screening of the video The one-eared elephant from Hazaribagh by german film-maker Susanne Gupta
May 16th, Main Conference Hall - Johar! Voices from vanishing India
Scholar Bulu Imam in conversation with film-makerSusanne Gupta and archeologist Erwin Neumayer
May 17th, Small Conference Hall - Parampara: learning from my mother…
Tribal artists Putli Ganju, Philomina Tirkey Imam and Juliet Fatima Imam talking about their art
In Rome, from May 20th till 14th September 2008, various Venues:
May 20th, Lelio Basso Foundation for Indigenous Rights, Via della Dogana Vecchia 5
- India and its indigeneous people: a history of denial Scholar Bulu Imam in conversation with Prof. Umberto Mondini and Prof. Scaria Thurutyril (Università Pontificia Salesiana in Rome) and Dott. Elisabetta Salvatorelli (FILB).
May 21st, International Women House, Via della Lungara 19 - Parampara: learning from my mother… Tribal artists Putli Ganju, Philomina Tirkey Imam and Juliet Fatima Imam talking about their art, followed by Screening of the video The one-eared elephant from Hazaribagh by german film-maker Susanne Gupta
From May 22nd till 14th September, 2008, Ethno-Prehistoric L. Pigorini Museum, Piazza Marconi 14
– Johar! Territories of the Sacred: Continuity and Tradition of the Indigenous Cultures in Jharkhand Follow up of the Action Painting started in Udine and Exhibition and loop screening of the video The one-eared elephant from Hazaribagh by Susanne Gupta
May 23rd, same Venue - Seminar: Rock art painting and prehistory in Jharkhand
Scholar Bulu Imam in discussion with Italian archeologist Massimo Vidale.
May 24th onwards, a small exhibition was held at the Tarshito Gallery of painted cloths and mud paintings at the Tarshito Gallery in Rome. Mayur readers will remember that TWAC did a project on the recommendation of Daniela Bezzi with the famous Italian artist Tarshito, of painting Sohrai murals on cloth at Sanskriti a couple of years ago, which led to the development of cloth murals culminating in the Udine murals.
Sposidea (Wedding Fair Exhibition), Milan
The Sposidea is a Wedding Fair which takes place at the Villa Castelbaree near Milan. This year an exhibition of Khovar and Sohrai paintings by the TWAC artists of Sanskriti is being arranged by Ms.Daniela Bezzi at the venue.
Guests Visits Sanskriti
In October every year before the Sohrai harvest festival we are visited by German guests who come under the guidance of Rev.Dieter Hecker of the G.E.L.Mission. This year we had four guests from northern Germany who visited the painted village of Bhelwara. Shortly before this we were visited for five days by our old friend Erwin Neumayer, the well known specialist on rockart and author of books on the rockart of India (Lines on Stone), the art of Raja Ravi Verma (Popular Indian art) and India’s Freedom Movement in Popular Art (Bharat Mata). On 18-19 Oct. we were visited by Dr.Klaus Roeber whose family is associated with G.E.L.Mission since its inception in Jharkhand.
Sohrai at Bhelwara, 29-30 Oct., 2008
This year as usual we attended the Sohrai harvest festival at Bhelwara with guests visiting Sanskriti. These included Vinod Ranjan, who has recently submitted his dissertation for MPhil at Mangalaytan Univ. Aligarh on the Wall Paintings of Tribals in Hazaribagh under Sanskriti’s guidance; Dieter and Ursula Hecker; Prof..Rev.Yim Tesoo (Chairperson Ochlos World Mission, South Korea); Radhika Borde who has completed her Masters from Lancaster Univ. (UK) on the Asurs of Jharkhand; Ujjal Ghosh (Director, Upendra Maharathi School of Painting).
Dr.M.C.Choubey died 18th August, 2008
We are very sad to inform our readers of the passing away of a great INTACH Convener, Dr.M.C.Choubey of Gol Bazar, Jabalpur, whose dedicated services to INTACH will remain a glowing memory to all the older Chapter Conveners. In 1993 he produced the extraordinary history of Jabalpur, and his overall contributions to academics and cultural heritage of India will long be remembered. We pay our deep condolences to his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren