I spent the second week of January in Hodka, a small village in Kutch, where I camped with 20 other artists, exploring the region, interacting and painting. Art camps are enriching experiences where artists work in a collective environment, allowing ideas to grow through dialogues, conversations, and by feeding off energies from one another.
I had visited Kutch in 2004 November, motor-biking through the desert and halting at villages to see the continuation of craft traditions. The invitation to this camp was in many ways like a call from an old friend; and I set out on the trip anticipating and expecting experiences that I'd known to be distinctive of Kutch. To my pleasant surprise, it was like meeting a new friend. The landscape swept me away when we crossed the border into "No-man's land"- a territory that belongs to neither India nor Pakistan -the whiteness of the salt desert shimmering in the noon sun. The horizon line that extends towards the border poetically fades away at sunset on the Great Rann of Kutch, the sky and earth unite in misty hues of white, grey, peach and lilac.
My studio looked out into a silent sprawling shrubby desert landscape where I'd see horse-riders every morning, almost like they'd just jumped off a persian painting! The sparseness of the desert compliments the richness of the art and crafts in Kutch.
Every evening was spent in viewing artworks and sharing artistic experiences, watching short films and dining together with beautiful folk music / dance being performed for us. One of the films that I thoroughly enjoyed was an animation film called Sita Sings the Blues and you can all watch it here.
Serene as it may sound, our art camp was energized with every artist painting furiously through the day and night in tents and huts that became our studios to realize small ideas that were ignited by coming together in a wondrous place.