In Gelawas I remembered how to be a teacher. We made pictures from seeds. I didn’t give any lessons or workshops for ages… I would say that I agree to be a teacher in India. It was a pleasure, nothing common with teaching in Russia or Ukraine. Children were so patient! Actually they taught me more…
I was surprised that even adult came to this workshop. That was really great!
When I was a child in the Soviet Union, we used to play some games which I would call now a practice of meditation. Most of them concern to child’s desire of some metaphysical experience. They are kind of a sacramental rite about life and death, time and themselves. Moreover this play activates sense of beauty and creative ability. I decided this practice will be interesting in India, country that has a big experience in meditation.
I asked girls from Gelawas, Rajasthan, India to make objects using garbage and nature materials like flowers, seeds paper, glass, everything that we could find under feet.
Play 1. Secrets
The custom to make secrets goes back to funeral rite. This game was very popular some decades ago among Soviet children. You should dig a hole somewhere under the tree in a secret location. Put into a candy wrapper and then a beautiful flower or a feather. Then cover the hole with a little piece of glass and hide the glass underground so that no one has found your secret. This custom required patience and preserved time like a sarcophagus.
Last 10 days of 2011 I spent in a small village in India. 15 artists lived in Sowing Seeds International Residence founded by KamanArt Foundation. I was impressed by local people and made video about village girls.
In the village Gelawas, India I explored life of local girls and women. Rajasthan is the most conservative state in India.
The girls often don’t go to school and can’t speak English, the second official language in India. Mostly at the age of 18 the girls get married. Therefore they don’t have much time for childhood. I met girls of different ages and all of them dream about marriage, but no one girl knows who will be her husband. This important decision is taken by the oldest man of a family, who usually smokes opium and drinks opium tea during all days. After marriage women are not required to show their faces or talk to men. Usually woman can’t even write her name. Married woman makes a tattoo on her arm with husband’s name because if she is lost she could show her arm and everybody will know where to deliver her.
Dance is a very important part of local culture, every girl can and loves dancing. I asked girls from 5 to 17 years old to dance and the older girl the less free time or space on a screen she has. I found very interesting also how seriously girls prepare for each picture, which I took. They use the same poses every time and never were tired of repeating. The piece where girls are prepared for taking photo is about Krishna and gopies, caw herding girls. This story about unconditional devotion and love is a favorite story for village girls. I used wedding songs, which I recorded in the village, as soundtrack for my video.
Village people live according their customs and habits and don’t want to change anything. As a reference of this kind of time conservation and ritual action at the same time at the beginning of my film I showed a play, which we made with local girls in a desert. This is a play of Soviet children, which was called SECRETS while we put some beautiful garbage into the hole and covered with glass and earth than, making it like a sarcophagus.
Video was shown in Sowing Seeds Exhibition in Gelawas, Rajasthan, India, 2011