Monthly Archives: May 2016
British artist Tatiana de Stempel explores racism and colour in her new show.
A few months ago, I remember a few photographs popping up on my Facebook wall—regular people, black, brown, white, posing with their tongues out. Because no matter what colour you are, your tongue is always pink. The message was so simple yet poignant, it made me pause. The mind behind it, I read, is that of Tatiana de Stempel, a London artist who is currently taking her multi-media project, What Colour Would You Choose?, around the country. And she is in town today, exhibiting her series of portraits in film, photography and painting at Art Houz.
“The project arose out of a discussion with (author-critic) Manoj Nair at the Indian Art Fair 2014, after seeing Binoy Varghese’s work—paintings of people with dark skin. The discussion threw up how there are so many issues that are unresolved about skin colour and I wanted to make an enquiry into what people thought about it,” Stempel tells me, explaining it took her two years to finish the project. For both the film and photographs, she approached people on the streets in India and the UK and asked them what they thought about colour and, of course, if they would stick their tongues out! “I went up to four Muslim women in Piccadilly Circus and they were very jolly about posing with their tongues out, which was great as they usually seem so serious,” recalls the artist, who unveiled her show at BC Gallery in Fort Kochi, Kerala, earlier this year. Today’s exhibition will be followed by a panel discussion tomorrow, moderated by Nair—which will address “our obsession with colour, fairness creams, etc”—and a free painting workshop for
children (11 am to 1 pm) on Sunday.
—Surya Praphulla Kumar
Combining dance, music and video, La Forêt Ébouriffée explores movement and imagination.
AS WITH popular works in children’s literature, the premise for La Forêt Ébouriffée—which will be performed in the city on Tuesday—was provided by a child’s wild imagination. Protagonist Racine lives a dreary existence with his grandmother and he finds himself distinguished in one way: a forest is growing inside his head. How he goes into the woods to find his true self is where the French performance packs a punch, attempting to recreate his emotions and experiences on stage with an unconventional use of dance, visuals and lighting.
Tree of life
The production is the brainchild of France-based choreographers, Christian and Francois Ben Aim, and has been brought to India by Alliance Francaise of Madras, after over 140 performances in Europe (since 2013). “The starting point for the play was an offer from a theatre to do a show for children,” says Christian. Author and illustrator Mélusine Thiry was roped in to write a book, which yielded the central theme of the performance. Thiry also designed the visual content for the show, which will be projected on to two screens, in front of which two dancers will play the role of Racine.
“The scenography creates a sense of depth between the images and the bodies in motion, causing confusion between dream and reality,” explains Christian. The aim has been to create a visual effect wherein the creatures imagined by the little boy, the setting and the dancers’ bodies are all shown to belong to the same universe, he adds.
The performance (targeting children between six and 10 years) will feature a contemporary dance piece to reflect the emotional and physical states of Racine, interspersed with a narration in English, Francois explains. Lighting is an aspect to watch out for, as they have to showcase the dancers without coming in the way of the visuals. “I’ve essentially used side lights to lend a magical effect to the dancers, who appear through a soft fog,” explains Laurent Patissier, the lighting director. It also has to “focus on the dancers but not too much”, as we have to create the illusion that they aren’t real and are only a part of the visual landscape shown, the 44-year-old explains. What the audience will see is a kind of movie with two living dancers moving inside, Patissier adds.
At Sir Mutha Hall, on May 31, at 7 pm. Free passes on eventjini.com
Guitarist Eric Clapton and celebrated producer, Glyn Johns, on their brand new album, I Still Do.
AFTER half a century in the music industry, 11 Grammy awards and over 22 studio albums, Eric Clapton is still going strong. The 71-year-old blues-rock guitarist has now reunited with producer Glyn Johns—who worked with him on the triple-platinum record, Slowhand—after 40 years for the album, I Still Do, which released last week. We speak to the maestros to find out more about the 12-track record.
The album is hard-core blues with a dirty guitar sound.
Johns: It’s Clapton’s guitar sound, all I did was record it. The main difference was the process we used, which was to do everything live. It enables you to capture live sound.
Clapton: I like to sing on just the one mic, and have everyone record on that. You record drums, guitars, and vocals all on tape and mix it after.
Which guitars did you use?
Clapton: I used an A Strat and a Gibson ES 335.
How many takes did you need, for each song?
Johns: No more than three or four takes. The thing about Eric’s guitar has always been that he’s not the type of player that sits and works things out. It comes literally as an emotive response—his playing goes straight from his heart to his fingers.
Clapton: The first one that comes to mind is Cyprus Grove, because it’s the deepest part of what I do.
Johns: Spiral. It is an interaction between his guitar and his voice. The band reacts to it as he’s doing—it’s very cool.
From Rs 1,660.
Exploring emotions, storyteller Vikram Sridhar is in the city to conduct a session for adults.
HAVING conducted storytelling sessions in the city for children, 32-year-old Vikram Sridhar from Bengaluru now wants to reach out to adults. He has teamed up with Ashvita to present a session that will include tales (in English) drawn from life, mythology and history. The stories, sourced from around the country, including Manipur, Sikkim and Assam, will explore relationships and emotions, shares Sridhar. “Earlier, people used to sit on thinnais (verandahs) and tell stories, which brought everyone in the neighbourhood together,” says the co-founder of Tahatto, a Bengaluru-based theatre company, who turned storyteller four years ago. He’d like to revive that sense of camaraderie.
His initiative, Around The Story Tree, attempts to break the stereotypes that surround traditional stories. “For instance, we stereotype cunningness as a trait of the fox, and as an animal lover, I have a problem with that. Storytelling becomes a strong tool for me to talk about these things, where I keep the emotions constant and make the characters variable—like having a cat instead of a fox to represent cunning,” he explains, adding that he sees the art form as a specialisation of theatre.
Having conducted several sessions for adults in Bengaluru, he says he’s seen more of them willing to share their stories—what they’ve read, heard or experienced. Which stories made an impact on him? “Those told by my grandparents about their personal struggle in bringing up their children. These helped me understand my lineage,” he shares.
On June 4, at Ashvita Nirvana, from 7 pm. Rs 250. Details: in.bookmyshow.com
From geometric patterns to intricate paintings, tracking the rich mural art in the country.
TWO years ago, when I took a rickety bus ride from Bhubaneswar to Chandanpur in Orissa, little did I expect it to be a visual treat. Creativity flows on all surfaces here—from walls and dried palm leaves to cloth and paper. The district is known for its master pattachitra artists and every house is a masterpiece, with walls rich with the art form. The name comes from patta or dried palm leaf on which these paintings are made, with stories dating back to when the Lord Jagannath Temple was built in the 12th century. I was lucky to meet Bhagwan Moharana and his son, Prasanta, who showed me an antique scroll, over 100 years old.
Prasanta (28) has been a pattachitra artist for over 13 years. He recalls how, when he’d started painting, over 40 others had also made it a full-time career. But today just a handful practise it. “They started with a lot of passion, but when they didn’t see the money coming in, they became construction workers,” he says. Walking past the beautifully painted houses, with stories of gods and goddesses depicted on them in minute detail (ornaments, hairstyles, animals, trees), I wonder if the next generation will be lucky to experience this? It is why I use the technique in my jewellery—from my leather range to the bamboo collection.
Another style of wall art that never fails to fascinate me is Kerala murals. With bold strokes—depicting wild combats, gods and goddesses making love without reservation, and animals and birds—they’ve stood out boldly in the temples of Kerala since ancient times, and remain one of my pet projects.
At a workshop, an artisan explains the process to me. They use five colours—red, yellow, ochre, blue and green—and paint on a special type of bamboo, called aanamula, which is whitewashed over 18 times to prepare it. Poets of the Bhakti movement, like Kulashekhara Alvar and Tunchat Ezhuthachan, inspired the art form and subjects are mostly derived from Hindu religious texts. Some of the finest illustrations are the Mattanchery Palace panels, depicting the Ramayana, and the temple paintings at Thrissur, Chemmanthitta and Thodeekkalam.
1. Madhubani (Bihar): Traditionally done by women, they were initially created on mud walls. It is characterised by bold colours, geometric and floral patterns and double-line outlines. Even today, the artistes apply a mixture
of cow dung and mud to their canvases, to help the fabric better absorb the colour.
2. Kalamkari (Andhra Pradesh): Patronised by the Golconda Sultanate, this intricate art has Persian influence and mostly features flowers, trees and creepers. It was born when travelling minstrels began to illustrating their stories on large bolts of canvas. The fabric gets its glossiness by being immersed in a mixture of resin and cow’s milk.
3. Warli (Maharashtra, Gujarat): Dating back 3,000 years, it uses a limited vocabulary—circles (sun and moon), triangles (mountains) and squares (chauk, for the Mother Goddess). With themes revolving around hunting, farming and festivals, it only uses white.
4. Gond (predominantly in Madhya Pradesh): It is created with dots and lines. The paintings are an offering in worship of nature, and are also made to seek protection and ward off evil. Themes include myths to images from daily life, and uses
primary colours like black, red, blue and yellow.
Jyoti Sachdev Iyer’s new line keeps it minimal and elegant.
SILK muslin has often featured in designer Jyoti Sachdev Iyer’s creations, though only sparingly. But she has gone all out this time, with her recently-launched Spring/Summer collection, Emergence. “Silk muslins feel like butter, so soft and light. I thought I could play around with layers of this fabric. Though I’d used them in my past collections, I wanted to wait until I got my thought process just right, so that I could utilise them to their maximum potential,” she tells us.
Easy and comfortable
Most of the garments in the line are made from 20 metres of silk muslin, but you’ll never be bogged down by the weight, she adds. Experimenting with cuts and textures, the pieces also make use of muls and Chanderis. The range comprises 20 styles spanning unusual floor-length anarkalis, jackets and lehengas (which go up to Rs 2 lakh).
Simple and classic
Heavy embellishments have never been her preference so, at the most, you’ll find sequins, French knots and ikat embroidery in this range. “These embellishments are mostly tone on tone; they blend into the garment,” says the Bengaluru-based designer. The use of pastel shades (pink and green), off-white and beige take the elegance of these outfits a notch higher. “I have always designed for women who are bold, who don’t follow trends blindly, and who think out-of-the-box,” she signs off.
Rs 19,000 to Rs 2 lakh.
— Barkha Kumari
Anaka Narayanan takes inspiration from the Rajasthani nomads’ embroidery for her new spring/summer collection.
THIS summer, pick up hand woven and hand blocked cotton and khadi basics with a gypsy twist, as the nine-year-old brand, Brass Tacks, is out with its new Spring/Summer line. Adding a dash of quirk to dresses, pants, skirts, dhoti dungarees, jumpsuits and more, is the intricate needle work, patchwork, motifs and mirror work typical of the colourful Banjara embroidery, which originated in Rajasthan.
Owner-designer Anaka Narayanan says, “For my designs, a (nomadic) Banjara community that works with an NGO in Sandur, Karnataka, produced the embroidery. I just wanted to have simple, elemental accents, and so, even though Banjara embroidery is popular and is used a lot, I thought here is my chance to take something like that and give it a completely different look.” To give a more contemporary edge to the garments, Narayanan says she focussed on only a few elements of Banjara embroidery and played around with the motifs and colours to minimise it to just accents. The collection is dominated by colours like rose quartz, pink blossom, grass green and lime green.
On sustainable fashion, she states, “I think being eco-friendly is a way of life. It is definitely something that I consider. That’s why we use only natural, sustainable textiles. The other thing is, I want women to buy my garments because they look good in them and it makes them feel good,” says the 35-year-old designer, who is soon launching a store in Bengaluru.
Rs 1,500 onwards at Brass Tacks, Alwarpet.
— Saloni Sinha
Mandira Bedi on her new sari-meets-sarong line, and beachwear essentials.
If you plan to hit the sand sometime soon, sift through Mandira Bedi’s maiden beachwear line, Salt. Launched earlier this month, it puts together the style, ease and utility of a sarong and sari together in one piece. Flowy and easy-to-drape, it works well on all body types — much like the bikini saris created by Shivan & Narresh. “But Salt is a cover-up, not a swimsuit,” emphasises Bedi. So you can choose to throw it back as a pallu for the sari look, wrap it up as a sarong, or just twirl it around your neck. Pair it with a crop top and shorts, one-piece swimsuit, sports bra, a bikini top, a shirt, or secure it in place with a belt to form an evening dress. Made from quick-to-dry lycra, it’s good to go over a wet swimsuit as well.
The actress-turned-host-turned-fashion designer breaks down the collection for us, “We have three patterns. The classic one is little asymmetrical at the hemlines, so a section is a little above the knee, and other is a little below the knee. Then we have a pattern that’s really asymmetrical — one side is much above one knee, and the other side goes down till the ankle. We also have a dhoti pattern,” she says. And the colours are as summery as they can get. She has crafted a mix of solids (yellow, lime green, red, black), prints, and contrast combinations of green-yellow, red-black, etc. Bedi, who ventured into sari designing after her noodle strap and backless blouse sari looks became famous during 2003 cricket World Cup, tells us that the idea behind Salt first came to her last year when Gillette Venus razor brand asked her to make short, beach-friendly saris for young, EDM lovers attending the Sunburn Fest in Goa.
The 44-year-old is currently on a break and is heading to Maldives this week for a family vacation, and shares that her beachwear always includes a bikini, shorts, and now Salt. A fan of Victoria’s Secret swimsuits, she swears by its fit and comfort, and has ordered two (an aqua and one with animal prints) for the trip. “I think I have five-six of them, in neon colours like coral, yellow, purple, blue and pink (her favourite colour). I am hoping I receive my orders before I fly to Maldives,” she states. For shorts she suggests Promod, United Colors of Benetton, Guess and Zara.
Rs 4,500-Rs 8,500. Details: mandiradesigns.com
— Barkha Kumari
Where to catch the finals of the IPL and Champions League this weekend.
On this blockbuster Sunday, when Virat Kohli and Cristiano Ronaldo will lead their teams into the finals of their respective tournaments, be sure you are at the right place at the right time. We scout the best spots where you can watch them play on big screens and also avail special offers, live counters and more. Read on.
At Vintage Bank in Hilton, there will be barbeque grills and live counters with lamb chops, pork chops, salmon steaks, and more. Other items on their special menu include a barbeque chicken honey glaze and whisky-glazed chicken. There are also happy hours from 5 pm to 9 pm, where you can avail a one-plus-one offer on draught beer. Food from Rs 850 onwards. Details: 22255555
It’s all pint beers at The Residency’s Bike & Barrel, where five domestic and five imported labels will be available at Rs 999 and Rs 1,999 respectively. There are also beer and food combos starting from Rs 699. From 12 pm to 10 pm. Details: 28156363
ITC Grand Chola
Football fans must head to ITC Grand Chola where Cafe Mercara has impressive offers. Get unlimited domestic beer at Rs 1,000 plus tax, and monster shakes from Rs 350 plus tax onwards. If you wish to stay after the match is over, try their Midnight Cravings platter (kaima choru, parotta and egg curry) at Rs 950 plus tax. Details: 22200000
The Park’s happy hours at The Leather Bar offers a discount of 40 per cent on select liquors, like White Label and Remy Martin. There is also a special offer called Beer Bladder where you can avail unlimited Kingfisher draught beer at Rs 2,500 during the course of either of the innings. Details: 42676000
Chill out with cocktails at Madera, The Raintree Anna Salai, that has offers on all drinks throughout the match. Enjoy unlimited draught beer at Rs 1,200 and domestic and imported liquor at Rs 2,200 and Rs 3,200 respectively. Details: 28309999
June 4, Radha Regent
If you are a Hindi music buff, head to the Tochi ka Tadka show next Saturday. Tochi Raina, the Mumbai-based singer, will be performing for the first time in the city. Expect his Bollywood hits like Iktara and Kabira, besides Punjabi and Sufi songs. 6.30-9.30 pm. Tickets from Rs 1,000 onwards.
June 5, IITM Research Park
In the mood for some art therapy? Artist Shweta Pandey from Bhopal, along with MyCopie, is organising a Zen Doodle workshop on June 5. Learn the repetitive, meditative art and also come up with your own intricate designs. Materials will be provided. Registrations open till June 4. Rs 1,500 (limited seats). Details: 66469800
June 7, Ashvita Bistro
Be ready for some tricky moves at the Scruples Game Night, launched by Funskool entertainment. In this card game, each player gets five yellow cards that pose questions on moral dilemma and one red card that gives options for answers. The one who gets rid of all the cards first, wins. The two-hour event will be hosted by games jockey Shruthi Vijayakumar, who promises surprise gifts. Rs 400 for two (12 years and above). Details: 9941150885
Till July 8, Online
If you are part of a creative team that comes up with innovative ideas to improve the digital reach of clients, then the British Council needs you. The aim is to reach out to an online audience of 50 million people by 2017. Submit a project idea and get a chance to win funding of 10,000 pounds. Last date for submissions is July 8. The British Council will also be a part of the 39th Chennai Book Fair starting June 1. Details: britishcouncil.in
A wine affair
Till May 29, Taj Coromandel
With more than 20 of the finest wines to choose from, Taj Coromandel’s wine by glass menu—as part of International Wine Day (May 25)—offers a range of reds and whites, like Danzante IGT, Pinot Grigio, Villa Maria and Montes, among others. Also, make time to sip on the famous Riesling of Washington State.
Rs 600 onwards (inclusive of taxes).
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