Source - Open Magazine.
They live in a vicious circle. This photo essay depicts the agony and ecstasy of the forbidden lives of an unfortunate community. You'll find them at Sagar and Mangal theatres, Modnimb Village located in western Maharashtra, an overnight drive from Mumbai. Here, huddled in a 10 ft x 10 ft single room, about 10 people comprising young girls, their mothers, their younger sisters and brothers stay put. Their valuables are neatly stacked in rows of shining metal boxes. Pictures of their favourite stars and goddesses bedeck the white-washed walls. The luxuries include colour televisions and stereos. There are about ten such rooms and each room is inhabited by a cluster of people which comprise of one group. All these groups have a common kitchen or at times order from a nearby restaurant.
Come sundown and the girls and their mothers tie ghungroos (a leather strap with strings of metal bells that can weigh as heavy as seven kilos to create rhythm.) around their ankles, apply make-up, dress themselves in paithani sarees and get set for the show. The theatre is a 35 ft x 17 ft room with a single door and devoid of any windows. It has a wooden stage which often creaks with the weight of the dancers. The room is dimly lit. A couple of torn rugs are strewn in front of the stage followed by rows of wobbly wooden benches. They are the tamasha artists from the kolhati community Tamasha is a folk art of Maharashtra, where the artists sing, dance and enact in a very suggestive format. The men in the group play the dholki, tabla or harmonium as an accompaniment for the erotic music.
Presently there are about 3,000 such tamasha dancers. Usually each group has regular patrons who throw money at the dancers while they are performing. As night deepens, these groups settle for private recitals if any patrons demands it. The money that they get is distributed amongst the members of each group.
In the past, tamashas were patronised by Maratha chieftains and Peshwas during the pre-independence days. The patrons are now replaced by politicians and other such purse-holders and power brokers. Unfortunately, once the girls wore ghungroos, marriage was not possible as they were treated like pariahs. But still, most tamasha artists have children, adopting their mother's name, as they believe that they are their only hope for living and are some support to them in their old age. Over the years, what happens in most cases is that these children get initiated into the profession. A profession that their parents are not proud of, but because of a dearth of better options are sort of compelled to endorse it. Presently, they get a stipend of Rs. 300 once the women reach the age of 40. The state government has been promising them several socio-economic perks expected to better their condition and honour their art with prestige. Unfortunately the promises are yet to be realised. Till then, the tamasha artists bravely battle it out. Night after night. While hoping for a better dawn.
Organised across two sites, each exhibition will focus on a different strand of the artist’s practice and together will form one of the largest and most ambitious exhibitions of the artist’s work ever to be shown. It will feature a selection of sculptures and installations spanning the breadth of his career, from early pigment-based works of the 1980s, to his most recent wax installations. Both exhibitions will feature works which were included in the recent, record-breaking exhibition of Kapoor’s work at the Royal Academy, London, which attracted over 275,000 visitors in less than three months and became the most successful exhibition of a living artist ever held in London.
Anish Kapoor is one of the most influential sculptors of his generation. He was born in 1954 in Bombay and moved to London in the early 1970s where he has lived and worked ever since. He studied art at Hornsey College of Art (1973-1977) and at Chelsea School of Art (1977-1978). He quickly gained international attention and acclaim for a series of solo exhibitions at museums and galleries across the world. He represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1990, where he was awarded the ‘Premio Duemila’.
He won the Turner Prize in 1991 and he received the prestigious Unilever Commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in 2002, which he realised with the much-acclaimed work, Marsyas. Among his major permanent commissions is Cloud Gate (2004) for the Millennium Park in Chicago, considered to be the most popular public artwork in the world. He was recently awarded the commission with Cecil Balmond for a permanent artwork for the London 2012 Olympic Park, the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi is one of the leading museums for modern and contemporary art in India. Recently re-furbished, the NGMA now includes three main exhibition buildings and the Anish Kapoor show will be the first major exhibition to be held in the gallery’s newly constructed Exhibition Hall.
The Mehboob Studios were founded by legendary filmmaker Mehboob Khan in 1954 to cater for the growing demand for quality film facilities in India. Situated on 20,000 square yards of seaside land in Bandra, in the heart of greater Mumbai, the studio soon became a favourite with some of the leading filmmakers of the time.
ANISH KAPOOR: Delhi / Mumbai
Opening 27 November
Exhibition runs 28 November - 27 February 2011
National Gallery of Modern Art
Jaipur House, India Gate, New Delhi 110 003
Open Tuesday - Sunday from 10am to 5pm, except Thursday until 8pm. Closed on Mondays and National Holidays
Entrance fees: Indian: Rs: 10 / Foreign National: Rs: 150 / Student/Child: Rs: 1
Opening 29 November
Exhibition runs 30 November - 16 January 2011
100 Hill Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai 400 050
Opens daily from 9am to 9pm
FREE ENTRY although booking required
Booking information: +91 22 40203660/61/62/63
Religare Arts in New Delhi will host the exhibition of shortlisted work from the Prix Pictet 2009 , on the theme of ‘Earth’.
The exhibition opens on 30 November and will run until 19 December 2010. This is the first time a Prix Pictet exhibition has been shown in India and the exhibition in New Delhi marks the final stage of the Earth global tour which has visited twelve different cities around the world in the last twelve months. Plans are currently being made for the international tour that will follow on from the announcement of winner of the third Prix Pictet in March 2010. Locations are already confirmed in Dubai, Milan and Madrid. The full touring schedule will be announced in March.
Religare Arts Initiative, 7 Atmaram Mansion, Level 1, Scindia House, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi - 110001, 30 November – 19 December 2010
Dhobi Ghat is a well known washers' area in Mumbai. The washers known locally as Dhobis work in open to wash the cloths from Mumbai's hotels and hospitals. There are row upon row of open-air concrete wash pens, each fitted with its own flogging stone. Termed as the world's largest outdoor laundry Dhobi Ghat is a very popular attraction among foreign tourists.
The word Dhobi Ghat is used all over India to refer to any place where many washers are present.