Greetings from the Ketna Patel Art Studio!
As many of you know, in March 2013, after 20 years of being based in South East Asia (primarily Singapore), we moved to India + U.K.
In doing that, we have entered a rather schizophrenic but exciting stage in our work practise……the idea is to ‘hover’ between the Eastern and Western hemispheres of this Planet, and convert this ‘bridge’ and its consequent observations into Art-making.
For the first half of 2016, we will be working on two main projects.
In the U.K, this will involve ‘The Diary of Transcience’ project, culminating in a multi media Arts Exhibition for the South East Asian Festival in London during July – Aug 2016.
Britain’s national identity is in a state of flux. How are its immigrant sub cultures changing what it means to be British? What are their stories? How have they influenced their surroundings? What do their homes and work spaces look like? What are their thoughts? What do they eat? What songs do they sing? What can we learn from each other?
To explore this very important conversation, Ketna Patel is transforming a vintage Silver Shadow Rolls Royce into a mobile Art laboratory which will travel through immigrant Britain from Jan – June 2016. Using actual encounters and contributions from the public, she will document and archive her findings using photography, film, music and words. These will be broadcast on the South East Asian festival’s social media platforms (www.facebook.com/seaartsfest), and also on the Artist’s website and facebook page. The findings will culminate in a multi media exhibition in July / Aug 2016.
If you would like to be part of this expansive project, the following are ways you can contribute:
If you are a first, second or third generation immigrant living in Britain, think you have an interesting story and would like to be interviewed, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on UK tel: 07982654310
We welcome photographs / stories that speaks of your transition to this country.
Here are some preview snapshots of the made-over Rolls Royce in progress:
Ketna Patel Studio is proud to announce an Art-ivism collaboration with a special project called SHOP ART this year. http://www.shopartshop.com/
This Art project is an investigation about the increasing disparity between the rural and urban. This topic is a universal phenomenon, and Gunehar in Himachal Pradesh is the context for this particular case study. In the words of SHOPART’S founder Frank Schlichtmann:
“The idea of ShopArt/ArtShop came to me one morning in 2012 while walking up the main road of this village, Gunehar, where I had recently settled with my little son, opened a small café and art gallery and called it the 4tables. Walking past the numerous empty cement shop-spaces that had come up in recent years but were shuttered down due to a lack of economic perspective, I started deriving a plan to fill these shops with “something different than the usual commodities offered in such spaces. I decided on an unusual experiment; why not have conceptual artists ‘open’ these empty shops and fill them with Arts? After all, in the context of today’s global Arts market, what is Arts if not a commodity? After a few days of intensive thinking and scribbling, the concept was put down to paper. The name: ShopArt/ArtShop was an obvious, playful choice of name for the project. I was from the very beginning convinced that situating SA/AS in a little village in a country like India was the essential ingredient for a meaningful Arts exchange in the 21st century, practically because of the resistance in perception to attribute meaningful ‘modernity’ to such ‘traditional’ rural spaces, especially in India. As SA/AS now goes into its second installment, there is a long story to tell about the initial struggle to set up the first event in 2013, which nevertheless was to go on to become a hugely successful experiment with 13 national and international emerging artists and over 6000 visitors! As we go now into SA/AS-2, many old and some new organizational challenges lie ahead, but I am happy to see the initial idea conceived on that 2012 morning having made it to the second round, despite the odds. We can all feel that Arts is increasingly becoming a mare commodity for an elite few, incomprehensible to most despite the possibilities of modern, global communication and infrastructure. This is because very many of us can not imagine that really good things can happen in a little village, and that too in India……”
“I am very excited about this collaboration for many reasons; the main of these being that both Ketna and I are global citizens with strong Indian links. I believe my work here on the ground will be greatly complemented by Ketna’s international experience as a successful artist and Art-ivist (Ketna’s phrase). Together, we hope to facilitate a crossroads for thought, creativity and multi disciplines for the event and present you with a great 2nd SA/AS”
Ketna: “ShopArt/ArtShop—which I have been following since its inception– has continually surprised and impressed me with its sheer audacity, single mindedness and courage to pioneer an Art experiment of this nature. Even though Frank and I come from different backgrounds, the thinking behind why and what he is doing in Gunehar resonated greatly with me.
For me, SA/AS, is a social, creative experiment. Usually, there is too much emphasis on the Artist’s finished product instead of the ‘process’, leading to all sorts of contaminations in the realm of imagination, commentary and our diminishing ability to ‘enter’ an idea.
Also, all over the world, urban centers seem over-stimulated, and rural areas the opposite. The gap between the two realms needs to be bridged.
SA/AS is an exploratory vehicle which can make use of artists’ ability to explore creative solutions for this and other complex issues.
This ‘investigation’ is very close to my heart, especially as it embodies so much of what moves AND bothers me. It is also (as many of you have probably heard through my sporadic rants!) a response to the many frustrations i have with the contemporary ‘Art World’. I strongly believe that artists are thinkers, as opposed to object makers
“The future of India lies in its villages” is the famous statement by Mahatma Gandhi. Well, more now than ever…….If you are feeling increasingly uncomfortable about the world’s emphasis on city living, at the cost of age old traditions, wisdom, erosion of environment, the dumbing down of history and relevance of ‘place’ being lost in the rural areas, this is a project to keep tabs on. If you are jaded with trapzing through countless art booths in art fairs or elitist white cube art gallery openings, wondering where all the grit, texture, debate and passion that goes with Artistic process has disappeared to, this is a space to watch.
Read on, and stay tuned!
1. The artist is present, i.e. accessible throughout the creative process (3 weeks)
2. The process of creating Arts is transparent and inclusive
3. The artist is at a risk (of failing)SA/AS Artists need to be:
— Aware of and understanding of global contemporary art trends
— Uncompromising in their work
— Integrative of rural folks/villagers and local themes in their work
— Incorporate local materials and methods in their work
— Able to transcendent, through their work, all three levels: rural-India, urban-India and the global.We are not looking for big names, but for Artists who are serious about Arts as their profession and are able to work conceptually. We offer: all expenses, a material budget, a well thought out conceptual framework and finally a venue that has already established itself as a premium destination for Art lovers.
We are also going to have what we call a netArt platform which is designed to document the whole process of your work, allow you to interact with other artists and ideas, interact with a global audience etc.
AND we are planning to take a modified version of SA/AS-2 on tour, i.e. to urban spaces in India as well as abroad.
We are looking for Art professionals primarily from following disciplines: Fashion/Design; Landscape Architecture; Dance/Theater/
To start the conversation, please send us samples of your work and a short write-up of your intended project to: email@example.com
For all other artwork enquires, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Production continues to be in Singapore, and limited edition prints can be sent everywhere in the world from here.
To read comments on Ketna’s art – please click here
Ketna Patel is a typical example of globalization. To date, she has lived in three different continents; Africa, Europe and Asia, each more than a decade. No wonder then that her work threads through many realms. Her personal experiences, cultural immigration, observations of popular and high culture, the juxtaposition of external, material worlds on top of inner bewilderment……. To reflect the world, and her part in it, Ketna’s works are usually not minimal affairs.
The intellectual / academic world, for her is limiting, and, in her opinion, has too often been used to justify or substantiate recent artistic expression, including architecture. Man does not live by decree or ideology, but by his or her own sense of purpose. The mass consciousness that belongs to the whole planet is emotive in its outset. First worlds misunderstand third worlds, and the wrath and the insecurity of the latter manifests itself in twisted episodes of contemporary life. More than ever, the world is busy, noisy, and explosive. There is heat in our bodies, from unexpressed words, to heat above us in the skies, from too much synthetic energy.
Ongoing Longterm Project: Planet Pop
- What is the relationship between art and mass culture?
- Explore the shift from Art to Advertising as the largest stimuli for collective visual conditioning
- Understand / explore further the consequences of social and economic differences between the first and third worlds today
- Build communication bridges between cultures by showcasing everyday, ordinary life as opposed to stereotypes perpetuated by media
- By validating and celebrating the individual, versus ‘the hive’
- Prodding and poking the consequences of a world run by corporations
- Breaking the mould of how ‘contemporary art’ is presented, viewed, appreciated and criticised today
- Treating contemporary lifestyle as an organic art-form in itself
- Collecting & collating various voices on the subject of alternative definitions of art… Encourage multiple readings / multiple associations of art expression
- Often today, the value of Art is made up almost solely from clever marketing…… How do you feel about this?
“I hope to amalgamate some of the above by re – presenting cultural information using alternative communication devices, and by blurring the lines between Art, Lifestyle, Marketing and Design. For example, a pop art café can take on more than just offering a variety of coffee. It can become a live installation where an individual is encouraged to bring to the fore his / her subconscious mind. Firstly by being attracted to the art object, then using it, and eventually having a rapport with it. One can access another’s opinions via utilitarian ‘art’. This can be done by sitting on it, wearing it, drinking from it, eating from it, reading it, writing it, looking at it, hearing it, etc. One person can start a sentence, and the other can finish it. I, like many others, wish to take ‘Art’ out of its traditional context of gallery / museum and bring it into everyday life. Hence the magnifying glass on popular culture.
My husband Jonathan and I run an independent Artists Studio with specific goals to promote dialogue between the third and first worlds using traditional and not so traditional channels of Art-communication. We are currently working with dancers, musicians, writers etc, so ART here is not just the visual only. If you are interested in what we do, or are thinking similarly, we welcome opportunities for collaboration / representation. Or we can join you in what you are doing!”