Seeing selections from Thread Whispers at Fotofest, surrounded by the media and photographs of artists we admire, was an inspiring moment for Shivani and I. Here is a little sampling of the work and of us geeking out from opening weekend:
Enter the front doors, pass the guest book alcove into the main room. The story opens with an arrow and a wild rose. Turn to face the stairs directly behind you, mother with flowers in her hair, coral beads around her neck. Follow the stairs down, lovers in a field of flowers, apricots on the mountain, pair of crow-brothers in the trees. Turn into another room, a wife newly married, newly widowed, turquoise butterflies in her hair. A high mountain lake holds a charm for a new life. Another room houses fairies covered in orange flowers and roses, and holy men all alike but one– one with a glow like apricots or the sun. The final story held in the ancient kitchen, a man and his wife and mother, his missing brothers already bones, skull of their cow found behind an old crumbling hut where a witch waits out front…
The photographs are all printed on cotton panels, the text on cotton stained with tea and stitched with rough black wool harvested and spun in Leh. The text installation was created for the space, and the stories were hung, or placed amongst stones in the courtyard, or spread out on shelves in the old kitchen.
All photos © Shivani Gupta and Corinne Adams. No images from this blog may be used without the owners’ prior consent.
I realised recently, as I was working on some things related to this blog, that there is very little of the writing portion of this project available online. As the writer for this project, obviously I felt this was an important oversight. I suppose the reason for this is ultimately just a copywrite issue– if the pieces are posted in their entirety here, they lose the likelihood of being published elsewhere.
That said, there are some fragments available in Verve Magazine, accompanying the photographs that they published.
So, for a sample of the words that accompany the photographs, check out the web version of Verve here: http://www.vervemagazine.in/arts-and-culture/sights-of-silence-dah-and-hanu-villages-of-ladakh-in-the-himalayas
Later this month Shivani will be taking the Ladakh portion of our exhibit to Derby for the UK’s “largest curated biennale of International contemporary photography.”
This will be Thread Whisper’s debut outside of India, so we’re very excited to see where it goes!
The exhibition will be free, so if you are in the Derby area, make sure to check it out!
More details on Format’s website (I don’t know why there are two nearly identical links, but they do each give different information):
Well, after the big push for our exhibition in Ladakh this summer, which was a magical experience if we’ve ever had one, we’ve both been throwing ourselves into a variety of other work throughout the summer and beginning of the autumn.
Shivani has been travelling in Europe and working on various photography projects, and Corinne has been settling into her new home in Chicago, preparing for a Chicago winter, and playing as much traditional Japanese and Irish music as possible.
Over the winter months we will be preparing the work from Kanha and Rajasthan, as all of the photography has been completed and stories drafted. Look for updates on new exhibitions and developments in early 2017!
Meanwhile, here are a few of Corinne’s (amateurish) photographs from her post-Ladakh excursion to Kashmir, for your viewing pleasure.
Few performers are blessed enough in their careers to get to practice their art somewhere as beautiful as LAMO, in a 17th century courtyard as the sun sets against the mountains around Leh town. With the inspiring and invaluable support of Rigzin Nurboo, Tsewang Phuntsok and Tsering Chorol, I presented a piece I had composed for this exhibition plus a traditional Ladakhi song sung by Tsering to kick off the opening.
Singing out into the mountain sunset.
Play it again?! If you insist!
As a result of a very inconsistent and slow internet situation in Leh, it has taken some time to create an update on the opening of the exhibition. Photos and videos needed to be compiled from various sources and edited, and then of course uploaded– something that would have taken two or three months to do with the internet in Ladakh.
We still have yet to compile a series of photos which actively walks the viewer through the entire exhibition. However, here is an introduction to the work and a glimpse into the opening party.
We’ve all arrived in Leh, and after the requisite days of resting and acclimating to the 3500 meter altitude shift, we’re getting to work. Shivani has already been installing the exhibition in LAMO, and now, with two days to the opening, we are going into overdrive.
The last two days we were primarily in Dha and Hanu villages, about a five hour drive from Leh, where we spent time catching up with our friends who told us stories and modeled for the project. We also brought them invitations to the show, and worked on convincing them to take some time off to come.
Dha has seen some hard times in the last year or two. These creepy caterpillars that everyone has dubbed “hairy scaries” have demolished most of the apricot and grape crops. On top of the destruction they’ve wreaked on the vegetation, they fall in hordes out of the trees and onto the ground and the heads of anyone under the trees. It’s difficult for people to work in their fields or gardens, because the caterpillars leave venomous stings wherever they touch. On top of everything, some road work has broken their only water pipe and cut off any running water to the houses.
Hanu was in much better shape, unaffected by the crop destroying insects. The family that we know and stay with have made improvements to their house, and the village seems to be doing well.
I would also just like to make a disgruntled note about the Indian army’s misspelling of “Dha” as “Dah”. Thanks to the signs posted everywhere proliferating this incorrect spelling, I’ve also been spelling the village’s name wrong for about 5 years. Thanks a lot, Indian army.
You are cordially invited to a multimedia exhibition in the stunning mountain valley of Leh, Ladakh, opening on the 17th of May at LAMO (Ladakh Arts and Media Organization).
Please stay tuned for photos, media, and updates from the exhibition.
There has been little to update on as we have been grinding our noses down, working on getting material together for our exhibition in a few weeks in Leh. While the date has not yet been made official, we will be opening at LAMO on either the 19th or 20th of May. As soon as the dates are made official, we will release them here.
The opening will be kicked off with a unique performance of music + movement by Corinne and Shivani, and will be open to the public. We’ll also be offering ekphrastic workshops for local kids and adults over the first few days of the exhibition.
In the meantime, we’ve dug up some photos from our first exhibit at the Goa International Photo Fest, in the Heritage Hotel art space. They give an idea, better than any description, of what the work actually looks like off the page (and floating on cotton textiles)…