Vinayak Katenahalli; Namdev Pattekar; Vijay Mohan K M; Satyam Malhar; Vaishali. V; Sneha Joshi; Karagowni Nageshababu Reddy; Ganesh Srinivasan, Santosh N Pattar; Kiran Kumar K
College Of Fine Arts, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore; Visual Art Department, Bangalore University; Ravindra Kala Nikethan, Tumkur; Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai; Srishti Institute of Art Design And Technology Bangalore; Vijayanti Chitrakala Mahavidyalaya, Mysore; Kannada University, Hampi
In wake of the growing farmers’ protests in India, Farmers Khata was created to throw a spotlight on the cultural connotations of life on the farm, the farming community and the everyday tasks that form an archive of the community. This act of archiving can in fact also be perceived as something that is strongly performative.
The participating students of this project who come from diverse backgrounds and regions, collectively explored the cultural and social diversity of these practices, while also acknowledging the similarities that they observed in various farming communities they have encountered across India.
This research, through drawings, installations and performative acts, alongside the farmers’ protests across the country, increased their awareness and forced them to think more consciously and sensitively about the farm, farmers, produce, as well as consumers.
Through their works they have highlighted their diverse backgrounds, their many interests in language, community, festivals, rituals, food storage, production and the histories associated with these. These works, they hope, will compel viewers to reflect on their own identity while also considering the systems at play at large – especially in relation to the journey of the food that they eat and how it travels from farms to their plates via supermarkets. The diverse spectrum of all that happens around farming in India – be it farming festivals on one hand or the routine activities such as cooking, making rangoli, storing food grain or preservation – were consciously highlighted by them through performative acts and strong visual representation. The project also gives a glimpse into the farmers’ protests, that continue in the background, and their direct/indirect impact, cause and effect. Each work bears witness to these protests. The grain that forms a part of our everyday lives and enables our existence, is encapsulated in a grain of anna (food). The diversity in India, these students believe, is truly celebrated. In every few kilometers there is a shift in landscape, language, cuisine, festivals, culture. And yet, the importance of a farmer is undeniable. The goal of the Farmers Khata was to experience these diversities through a singular story of a farmer.
[Best viewed on desktop/laptop]
Farmers Khata: Open Studio
The Open Studio resulted from a workshop facilitated by Bharatesh G.D as part of the Farmers Khata project, and took place on 25th January, 2021 at College of Fine Arts, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, Bangalore. A vast ground on the campus of the arts’ college, lined by large cliff rocks, became the canvas for the Open Studio. While the site was appropriate to present and exhibit ideas related to the farm as well as food, it also created an interesting dynamic in the translation and transition of these ideas from one site (the farm) to another site (the campus). As a result, the processes and traditions explored within this project when displayed, took on new meanings and functions while forming interesting connections with each other. Elements from the site also became part of the work and its exhibition, thus adding value. Leaves from the trees across the college ground became frames for hanging prints of different food, the earth became a canvas for mapping out a farm with rangoli powder, and the cliffs became screens that captured the students’ imagination. The space of the college ground was hence activated through these artistic interventions in the form of sound and video installations as well as through performance. The Open Studio, therefore, cultivated a site that came alive through the students’ explorations.