Sowing Seeds 2011, an international village residency in Gelawas, Rajasthan, from December 2011 till January 2012. Kamanart Foundation had invited 15 international oriented artists to exchange their culture and to collaborate with local people. Harald Schole made from local available materials an installation in the temple, called a Tribute. It points at the problematic of enough fresh and clean water. The holy river of Ganges is visualised in a positive and in a negative shape. And every well decorated string between remembers you to make a decision. photos: preparation, installation in the temple of Gelawas, inspiration Jaswant Thada in JodhpurRELATED PROJECTS
REVIEW WORKSHOP HARALD SCHOLE (NL) organized by the Kaman Art Foundation
SOWING SEEDS 2011 INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE RESIDENCY GELAWAS, INDIA
Concept of Harald Schole: a tribute to water
18the century step well in Jodhpur
interior memorial Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur
new water reservoir, during the dry season, Gelawas
His work statement
Positive and negative are opposites, and also complementary. With Tribute, Harald Schole wants to show us the balance between the contrasts. Besides that, he combines his Western or global concepts with the local possibilities. Every year, Rajasthan faces the problem of a deficiency of water and, sometimes even the lack of clean water. In the dry season, for months no rain is falling and rivers run dry. In the Netherlands, in contrary, there is plenty of water. For a country that produces so many vegetables, fresh and clean water is of great importance. But there is something else. The Netherlands is situated bellow sea-level. The Dutch therefore need to be well protected against a too high sea level and flooded rivers. So, water possesses a good and an evil side. These opposite characteristics of water are represented in this temporary installation. The Indian river of Ganges is a holy river. Schole has chosen to visualise this river. The curves of the river of Ganges are drawn on the temple floor both in actual and mirrored shape, from the source of the river in the Himalayas till the estuary in Bangladesh. Beautifully coloured lines of fabric are connecting these two images of the Ganges. There are eight lines, representing the eight times you can or maybe have to decide between good and bad. The figure ‘8’ symbolises infinity, comparable with the water of the river, also a continuous flow, from the mountains to the sea to her source in the mountains. Like a continue cycle of life. Tribute is put together with locally available, recycled materials. With a few kids, he was collecting fabrics lying around the houses, when the artist was invited in one of the houses. In exchange for some pictures and stories about his country, the villagers gave him a bag full of colourful leftovers of cloth for his artwork. For some days, Harald Schole was working intensively. And from these small pieces of cloth, he made over twenty meters of colourful, decorated ribbons. Knotting the pieces of fabric was a very meditative activity and his personal tribute. Schole could not directly find a proper location for the work. One morning, he made a walk through the village and visited the temple near the village square. By coincidence, he met the priest of the temple and they had a small chat. He explained his proposal for the Sowing Seeds project. And then, the priest offered him to do the temporary installation in the temple. He choses the place were water is collected in a subterranean reservoir. Schole felt honoured and happy as the art piece had found its beautiful site-specific location in a natural way.
The residency in Gelawas can be characterised as short, intensive and filled with hospitality. The organisation and the villagers were very open and collaborative. He learned much about the culture of Rajasthan, but maybe the (young) villagers were even able to learn more then the participants of the residency. He would have liked to have more time to better learn to know the craftsmen in the village. The craftsmen were usually very busy. For the children, it was holiday period. They had time enough. The numbers of ceramic horses and their size the potter is producing each year impressed him. In his spare time the potter is also a dancer and a wonderful performer with a fast turning wheel on his shoulder. To discover the culture of the village and the habits of the villagers, he would have preferred to have more time. Schole was glad, he had been in Rajasthan a year before, which gave him in some way a familiar feeling. Before going to Gelawas he had decided not to bring any materials from The Netherlands to the village. He did not want to import art materials from The West to India. The constraint of material was my well-considered way to take his time and explore the village and the culture of Rajasthan which finally resulted in an art piece of which he would never have thought to use so much colour and fabric in it.
He realised that a tool for exchange of experiences and visualisation of the collaboration with the villagers more directly could be valuable. It could give something in return to the villagers. One could think of a musical instrument, but for him as visual artist, he was thinking of a small instant photo studio. Maybe with crazy, fantastic backgrounds with a mixture of Indian gods and goddesses and also with the landscape of a land that is situated far below sea-level.
Harald Schole’s conclusion: I really felt at home in my canopy and I know that Gelawas will be another home forever.