Friday, 29 January 2016

The time for the residency has arrived and the seven artists from seven countries are coming in from different parts of the world to meet up in India!!  It was almost 8 months ago when I first started to think about putting this residency together. There were so many things to think of, most importantly the central theme.
For quite some time now I have been exploring scale in clay. Bringing a group of eminent artists together who all work in considerable scale is the realisation of a long held wish.  However, many unknowns lie ahead – the space, the environment, the material, firing possibilities, the group dynamic, chemistry etc.  It is out of these unknowns that the theme of the residency has evolved -Exploration, Experimentation and Examination. 

We are all gathering in New Delhi before we take the train to Maihar in Madhya Pradesh. Thiebaut Chague arrived from France this morning and he and I had the opportunity to partake of the current art season in New Delhi. We went to the National Gallery of Modern Art to see the show of Sudarshan Shetty titled “Shoonya Ghar”- the “Empty House”. The exhibition is a collection of film, sculptural installation and photographic images set in the Indo-Sarasenic architecture of the NGMA. What we enjoyed the most was the way Shetty used his material- the deconstruction of an architectural space and a reconstruction of a space that evoked memory. 

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Text Box: I first met Ambika Beri a few years ago, which was when she invited me to curate an international ceramic residency at Art Ichol in Maihar, India.  It was an exciting idea but I was nervous to take it on. I knew it would be a lot of work and at that time I had a lot on my plate.  As the idea brewed in my head I knew I had to do it, and I really wanted to go to Art Ichol myself!! The residency studio not only looks fabulous but it is situated right in the heart of the country in Madhya Pradesh.

I have always wanted to go to Madhya Pradesh, known for its beautiful Jain and Hindu temples. The famous Khajuraho temple renowned for erotic carvings is located only an hour and a half away from Art Ichol!

Additionally, the national parks of Bandhavgarh and Panna, the home of the great Bengal tiger are also in the vicinity.

As I was working towards putting the residency together, I came across an article in the paper on Maihar. That’s when I realized it was also the home of the well-known Ustad Allaudin Khan the greatest Hindustani Classical music teacher of the 20th century, who taught musicians such a Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan. Below are a couple of  links for the music and a 1963 film.

Ustad Allaudin Khan was the court musician in the last century to the Maharaja of Maihar. He composed several Ragas and laid the stones for the foundation of the great Maihar Gharana. But all these are side stories.  What we are really going to Madhya Pradesh for is the residency.

I have often been asked, “What is a residency”?  Having had the opportunity to do several residencies in Japan, China, Korea and India I like to describe it as a retreat and a time to explore and experiment. It is a much-needed time away from ones usual environment and responsibilities to focus and concentrate. A time for reflection on one owns own journey and a time of interaction with other artists, a time to question, debate and push ones practice further. More often than not a residency would definitely affect the artists practice in one way or another.

Through this blog I hope to capture some of the experiences we are all about to embark on. A journey filled with adventure, excitement as well as all our trials and tribulations.

Thursday, 14 January 2016



The residency takes place from Jan 31st to Feb 12th 2016 at Art Ichol In Maihar. Art Ichol is a Gallery Sanskriti (Kolkata) initiative under the direction of Ambica Beri. They host art retreats at the Maihar House and Art Ichol, large permanent facilities specifically designed for artist residencies since 2014The current international residency curated by artist Madhvi Subrahmanian, consists of 7 artists from 7 countries countries (most of whom have never visited India or met each other) . This  residency provides a platform to explore, experiment and examine contemporary practices within large scale ceramic practices. It is is an opportunity for artists from different countries to interact and question, debate and deliberate , experiment and explore new ideas and concepts - individually and collaboratively.

The residency artists are:


As an object maker, Alvin produces ceramic objects that attempt to present a subjective interpretation of the existential dilemma of our current age. He has been working with clay for more than two decades and has exhibited in several group and solo shows worldwide. His works are in several collections and have won prestigious awards like the 4th Global Art Movement Competition in Toyota City Museum, Japan and Golden Teapot Competition in Ying Ge Museum, Taiwan.


Having studied ceramics in Geneva, Jacques worked in Swiss Cooperation, Rwanda from 1984-1986. His work deals with questions of inter-cultural exchanges, “back to origin” of the ceramic's technology, “ earth scale” and “site spirit”. From 1995-2014, Jacques has served as the chair of the ceramics department, Vevey’s Applied Art School. Since 1999, Jacques has engaged in several projects in China. Currently he is the President of the International Academy of Ceramics.


Kathy received her BFA from California State University Long Beach. She is known for designer tableware and architectural wall works. Exhibited internationally her work is included in private and public collections such as Renwick Gallery/Smithsonian Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Taipei Museum of Fine Arts and SC Johnson Collection. She is a recent recipient of the US Dept of State Professional Fellows Cultural Exchange Grant working with Tibetan potters in Yunnan, China.


Having trained at Golden Bridge Pottery, Pondicherry with Ray Meeker and Deborah Smith, she received her Masters In Fine Arts under Peter Beasecker at SMU, Dallas Texas. She is known for her large-scale works and installations dealing with seeds, pods and ideas of movement and migration. She has exhibited internationally and her works are in several public and private collections such as Mumbai airport (India), Lohia Art Foundation (Indonesia), FuLe International Ceramic Museum (China), and Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park (Japan).


Soon after graduating in painting from Chiangmai University Naidee moved into making terracotta sculptures. As a Buddhist he seeks to express child-like purity, spontaneity, fullness and happiness in his work. Naidee has been invited to international festivals and conferences to demonstrate and show his work including the Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennale in Incheon, Korea and the International Ceramics Festival, Aberystwyth UK . His work is in several private and public collections all over the world.


Since training in Japan over 40 years ago Sandy Brown has become one of the world’s leading ceramic artists. She exhibits all over the world and her work is held in over 40 museum collections internationally. She is credited with being an influential force, known for her exuberance, freedom and celebration of colour.  She makes pots for use, large sculptures, and her latest project is her most ambitious to date: a full size ceramic Temple, a building!


Began his career in 1976, training in France, Belgium and England under stalwarts like Michael Cardew and Richard Batterham. Thiébaut is known for his monumental and organic wood fired sculptures. In 2009 he built a giant clay sculpture, which he fired in the courtyards of the Victoria & Albert Museum, UK. Examples of his work can be found in many public collections including the V&A museum UK, Grassi Museum Leipzig, Germany and Musée de Sèvres Paris, France.