Thursday, September 5, 2013

bye bye bangalore

I left Bangalore for Nashville on July 12th. Returning to America was more surreal than I ever could've imagined. I'd lived abroad twice before (in Ireland and Australia) but never really experienced reverse culture shock before. America seemed suddenly like a foreign country to me, everything looked different, unrecognizable in surprising ways and I was aware of everything in a way I'd never been before. I'm still readjusting and I've been back for almost two months. It's been a surprising and fascinating process.

Which is why its been so long for me to do this last and final entry for my blog. So here goes:

My last few days in Bangalore were wonderful. In order to maximize my days I slept very little, and did and saw as much as I could. A few visits to the city market, the junk market, a new market in a whole new part of town, seeing friends, buying gifts, going away parties and participating in the TAKE on Art Magazine's all day symposium on Art Residencies. Which was a fascinating and wonderful experience to be a part of such incredible and exciting members of the Indian art community. I am so grateful to have been asked to be a part and to spend my last day in India to finish off an incredible, life changing 9 month period of time.

Words seem to fail me when I try to say how thankful I am for the Fulbright's support of my work and my project. These months have been the most important thus far of my career and I hope that the work I made there reflects that. I hope to continue to further my research that I began in India and I have already been so glad to be able to utilize the internet as a way of maintaining the relationships I formed there to this day. I hope to someday bring Indian artists to the United States in any capacity I can and to further the project of Senator Fulbright of promoting mutual understanding between cultures. I continue to think of the words of Senator Fulbright when he said, "Our future is not in the stars but in our own minds and hearts. Creative leadership and liberal education, which in fact go together, are the first requirements for a hopeful future for humankind." I am so grateful to Fulbright and USIEF and their support.

I am also so grateful to everyone I met in Bangalore, especially Suresh Jayaram, Cop Shiva, Umesh Kumar, Clare Arni, Babitha Lingraj, Hanna Holman, Niranjam Hosmane, Suki Dhanda, Aren Skalman, Kathryn Meyers, Anna Schurmann, Sanjeev Narrain and 1 Shanthi Road for hosting me as an artist in residence. This experience was also undeniably formative and an essential component to the success of my time in India. The friends I made there I am also so grateful for and hope to see them all stateside too someday soon as my guests here. I also am comforted to know I will see them again soon, the next time I am in Bangalore, which I hope to be sooner rather than later.

One last thing: this blog will remain alive and a way for me to post reviews or events surrounding my work from India. Since I've been back I was so excited that the Hindu wrote about my project in this awesome article!!! and the Nashville scene wrote about me here!

Until we meet again, India.

Movie Poster, Bangalore

Clouds Over Chicago

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

bloomsday, india edition

James Joyce is my favorite artist. As such, every June 16th I have a personal holiday that I celebrate. Bloomsday is celebrated by Joyce fans around the world, but I have only ever celebrated by myself, sort of like a secret day that I am marking and keeping track of what I did all day long. I usually commemorate Bloomsday by going on a very long walk by myself. This year was no exception, I didnt sit down for longer than 30 minutes the whole day. Silly, pretty much, but its a way of remembering and connecting with one of the most important works of art to me once a year and a way of keeping track of sorts. So here's my Bloomsday in India:

Walked to Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. The clouds were incredible: really low hanging and it looked like it was going to seriously storm at any minute but it only sprinkled a little bit the entire day. The kind of sun/cloud combination that would easily sunburn.

As I walked up the old rock to the top where the temple is I saw these ladies standing in the wind. This rock they're standing on by the way is thought to be one of the oldest rock formations in the world, according to wikipedia, 3 million years old. 

Bloomsday Ladies

I walked all around stopping by the Mango Festival and I bought 1 and a half kilos of delicious mangos. I was really excited this was still going on. 

I looked for the monkey part of Lalbagh but all the monkeys were hiding today. I did see a group of people gathered around looking into a small river where there were two men on the edge of the river kicking around some rocks. At first it looked like they were helping a bird but then the longer I looked I couldn't tell what they were doing exactly. 

Gathered Crowd
I saw an elephant topiary, filmed a huge amount of pigeons flying away and landing again and again, posed to have my picture taken with a group of young women and kept walking. I saw a couple lying on a bench hidden by some trees and a dog that looked like a fox. 

I kept going and then decided to take an auto to the City Market, one of my favorite places. It was too late in the day for the junk market but I still was able to get some presents and wander around for a nice time through the market. I bought some jasmine.

Right when I left the market it started to rain. I saw a dog that looked like he was resting amongst a ton of food, I couldnt tell if he was wounded or if there was food on him because we sped off too quickly. Regardless he looked really peaceful. I saw a cow with purple fruit pulp covering his face and he had a lotus blossom tied around his neck.

I went back to Shanthi Nagar to get a coffee when I heard from Hanna. She was with Sumana and Ravi. We decided to walk to see an outdoor art festival together. We went a new way, tried to wander through an old fancy club but Ravi was not allowed in because of his dress.


Bloomsday Sunset

 We kept going. We made it to the art walk, looked at some plants for sale, saw Aren's art piece which is still doing great in its new home and then decided to get some fresh lime soda and dinner. We hopped the fence dividing MG Road and wandered through a used book store on the way to get our lime soda. We stopped at an amazing magazine store that seemingly sells every magazine in the world and also houses around nine beautiful, glamorous cats.


I played with the cats for a long time and missed my cat back in America. We continued on to get our dinner in the middle of one of the first malls in Bangalore. I had pad thai for dinner. After dinner we kept going, Ravi got chased down by a guy who wanted to sell him a tiny chess board and then we walked Sumana and Ravi back to the BAR 1, where Sumana is an artist in residence. We took another new way home through even darker, more twisty roads and saw a crazy auto driver who was driving towards pedestrians and acting like he would hit them and then speeding away. He did this to Hanna and we all jumped to protect her and yelled after him. After we realized it was ok we were able to laugh about it. I looked at a puncture shop's painted tire signs and marveled at how beautiful everything looks at night under the street lights. We made it to our respective homes and I finally sat down. 

Happy Bloomsday. 

Monday, June 10, 2013


The show came and went and it went well. I'm still so glad to have had the opportunity to show some of the work I've done here in India. I'm now working on two smaller books and looking forward to seeing the results (book release at the end of the month!), and in the meantime, going over some old photos and loving these beautiful old clips from Humraaz (1967) these clips filmed in beautiful Darjeeling. Feeling a little nostalgic for the mountains. I can't believe I have just a little over a month left in India. It's sad and hard to wrap my head around. I'm enjoying these days to the fullest as I have enjoyed every single other day I've spent in beautiful India. 

Laura's Earmuffs (Sikkim)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

bangalore edit

Here are the photos in the show that is up currently at 1 Shanthi Road Gallery in Bangalore for those who are curious. The show is up for one more day tomorrow from 11-7 pm! Come by if you're around!

Hands, Feet and Snow (Manali)

Khabie, Khabie (film still, dir. Yash Chopra, 1976)

Untitled (Bangalore)

Tissues (Bangalore)

Cinema Doors (Jaipur)

Man Photographing (Mount Abu)

Film Still (appropriated image, exact date unknown)

Untitled 2 (Bangalore)

Roads (Sikkim)

Steam Engine Landscape (Darjeeling)

Bunny Boy (Khajjiar)

Hands Photographing (Darjeeling)

Laura After the Wedding (Mount Abu)

Train Conductor (Darjeeling)

Girl Scout (Darjeeling)
Woodsman (Manali)

Film Still (appropriated image, exact date unknown)

The Valley (Manali)

Untitled 3 (Bangalore)

The Diamond Sea (Flying from Mumbai to Goa)

Family Vacation 1 (vernacular image, exact date unknown)

Family Vacation 2 (vernacular image, exact date unknown)

Stars (Manali)

Snow Ladies (Sikkim)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Show Installation Images

Here are some installation images of my show at 1 Shanthi Road Gallery in Bangalore. The show is up until June 5th, if you're in Bangalore come by! Open every day from 11-7 pm.

Special thanks to everyone at Fulbright, USIEF, 1 Shanthi Road, Suresh Jayaran, Cop Shiva, Hanna Hollmann, Umesh Kumar, Aren Skalman, Laura Lester, Kathryn Myers, Babitha Lingraj and Chetan Patil and of course my friends and family back home who have supported me the whole time.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Switzerland of India



"At above 6000 feet above sea level, the view of the hills in the vicinity and the snow-covered peaks, leaves one speechless and rightly so. Meadows till one's eyes could see, Dalhousie is called the 'Switzerland of India'." ++

sometimes sometimes (once in a while) in my heart i get these thoughts +

"On 7 July 1992, Mr. Willy T. Blazer, Vice Counselor and Head of Chancery of Switzerland in India brought Khajjiar on the world tourism map by christening it "Mini Switzerland". He also put a sign board of a yellow Swiss hiking footpath showing Khajjiar's distance from the Swiss capital -Berne 6194 km. Khajjiar is among the 160 locations in the world that bear topographical resemblance with Switzerland. The counselor also took from Khajjiar a stone which will form part of a stone collage around the Swiss Parliament to remind the visitors of Khajjiar as a Mini Switzerland of India."

sometimes sometimes (once in a while) in my heart i get these thoughts

"Gangtok- Switzerland of India
Wreathed in clouds, Gangtok the capital city of Sikkim is located on a ridge at a height of 5500 feet. The important transit point for traders traveling between Tibet and India."

that you've been made only for me

"Known as the 'Switzerland of India', Manipur lies in the deep corner of the northeast part of India. This beautiful land is surrounded by Nagaland in the north, Mizoram in the south and Assam in the west, and shares a common international border with Burma in the east."

that you've been made only for me

"Kausani is nestled atop a ridge overlooking the river Kosi in the district of Bageshwar in Uttarakhand. Mahatma Gandhi had spent a fortnight here in 1929. So enchanted was he by the beauty of Kausani that he called it the ‘Switzerland of India’. He is said to have wondered why Indians went to the Alps in Europe, when they had such a beautiful place right on their doorsteps offering splendid views and rejuvenation."

before this you were among the stars somewhere

"Manali and its surroundings area are charmingly beautiful having extreme nature beauty. The town is blessed with fantastic beauty of nature and never fails to lure visitors coming from different parts of the world. Due to its beauty and cool & delightful climate this picturesque hill station is often referred to as the Switzerland of India."

before this you were among the stars somewhere


"Her 'Destination Darjeeling Project' is no longer a myth. Infrastructure and tourism development among others, would be the priority areas for her Trinamool Congress-led government. Darjeeling will become Indian counterpart of Switzerland.
SWITZERLAND IS a wonderful place in Europe, which is lovingly known as ‘heaven on Earth’."

you've been called down to earth only for me

"It was the biggest Kolkata joke that Mamata Banerjee will make Kolkata London, give Sunderbans the exotic experience of African safaris and make Darjeeling Switzerland. Unfazed by such jokes of her enemies, Mamata is undertaking a bigger plan of exploring the tourism potential of Darjeeling. Of late, Mamata reiterated her promise during the swearing-in of the members of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration last week to make Darjeeling Switzerland and she looked quite serious.

There are many in the state to take potshots on Mamata Banerjee by saying that Switzerland is not one city and the entire hills had to be developed if her dream of turning Darjeeling into the European country is to be realised. Darjeeling alone cannot be Switzerland. But there is no denying that Darjeeling is Indian counterpart of Switzerland. It is a gem in the crown of the Himalayas."

you've been called down to earth only for me

"North Sikkim - Really Switzerland of India
Hi All,

This time North Sikkim... from 18th Jan to 20th Jan. 

I will write the detail trip log as soon as I finish the pending work.

Starting with a snap of Lachung on 18th Jan......"

sometimes sometimes (once in a while) in my heart i get these thoughts

"Switzerland of India
North Sikkim offers such a panoramic natural and cultural vista that it can keep a travel photographer in click frenzy for months...
A valley of stark landscapes with snowy peaks touching the sky, gurgling rivers dotting the highlands and an ancient civilization that has survived for thousands of years preserving its cultural heritage against the onslaughts of modernity; North Sikkim offers such a panoramic natural and cultural vista that can keep a travel photographer in a click frenzy for months.
Our tour operator had stressed that North Sikkim is the Switzerland of India."

that this body and these looks are my treasures

"Manipur may lose the title “Switzerland of India”

Looking into the facts and sadly considering the current scenario the policy maker seems to have not taken tourism in its true perspective as an industry for Manipur. There are different types of tourism and it has its own brand. A tourist destination in the world, whether it is Switzerland, Goa, Kerala, have over the years developed a brand name for themselves. Switzerland is known for its ‘European Splendour’, Kerala is known as ‘God’s Own Country’, Goa as a party destination. Manipur has been defined as the ‘Switzerland of India’. But the fact is that this brand or name may not be with Manipur after few years. In fact, in some blogs I have read about tourism in India, one person stated, Himachal Pradesh as the ‘Switzerland of India’. And that we can’t challenge them right now.

There are thousands of ways through which we can promote this industry."

that this body and these looks are my treasures

"A Switzerland of Rajasthan - Mount Abu
Mount Abu is the one and only hill station in Rajasthan. Some times in the past days it was the summer capital of the Rajputs and later for British. But nowadays, it is the most enchanting place of the desert state. It is placed on the highest peak of Aravali area in Rajasthan. It is distributed over an area of 25 km and is situated at an height of about 4000 feets above sea level. It is nearly 185 km from Udaipur. It is also called as the 'Oasis of the Desert' as it has beautiful rivers, waterfalls, lakes and abundant forests. Apart from this, the holy shrines also signifies a part of Mount Abu. Because of these reasons. this place is renowned among the visitors."

this shadow of your thick beautiful hair is only for me

"Shimla…the Switzerland of India

Summers are just on the verge taking the fa├žade so as the demand of the provinces, offering pleasant climatic conditions. The province in the northern region is seen frequented with the tourists from all across the globe for its breathtaking scenic views, soothing climate, sheer nature revealed through the emerald lush foliage, along with the lustrous gorges cascading down the mighty hills adding majesty to the backdrop making a picture perfect enveloped in the serene ambience, arousing the sense of spirituality. Himachal Tours are among the most sought after tours, having a little bit of everything to offer to its tourists.

Witness the emerald hues of lush vegetations and shimmering gorges which cascades down to the mighty hills with a scenic backdrop in Himachal, making a picture perfect scene surrounded by tranquility, which evokes a sense of spirituality among the tourists."

sometimes sometimes (once in a while) in my heart i get these thoughts
Christine Rogers, 2013
++ all quotes are taken from various travel websites
+ italicized quotes are from the song Khabie Khabi mire dil mein by Sahir Ludhiavani