I am Sutradhar

Conceptualised by Archana Hande

in collaboration with
  Afrah Shafiq

Amritah Sen

Gayatri Kodikal

Madhu Das

Mansi Bhatt

Paroma Sadhana

Priyanka Jain

Sachin Kondhalkar

The Guild,  Alibaug

  May 20 - July 1,  2018

10.00 am to 6.30 pm


I am Sutradhar’

Conceptualised by Archana Hande

In collaboration with Afrah Shafiq | Amritah Sen | Gayatri Kodikal | Madhu Das | Mansi Bhatt | Paroma Sadhana |
Priyanka Jain | Sachin Kondhalkar


We live in a world where there is more and more information,

and less and less meaning.  -- Jean Baudrillard  

When the word ‘tradition’ is defined as a ‘transmission’ – of beliefs, customs, livelihood practices, stories – that is passed down significant number of generations, it begs a few questions. Questions such as – how long must this practice have been transmitted for, for it to qualify as tradition? Does the acceptance of tradition also simultaneously erase the question of self-identity?

In a world that is increasingly shutting its doors on anyone who is willing to ask these questions it is incumbent upon us to find keys to these doors. Tradition, or practice, is not cyclical wherein, like Sisyphus, we are doomed to push the rock up the mountain only to find it roll down the other side so that we can start all over again. There is an originating point to all practice, to all stories, to all beliefs. Tradition, as it is understood today, then becomes a smokescreen through which we cannot locate its origin, and yet remain mesmerized by its long history of association – if this was, then it must be so.

As we try to clear the fog and understand the root of tradition itself, we inevitably stumble upon the path of history – of humans recording their existence. In other words, we stumble upon stories upon stories upon stories. Some written down, some spoken to, some sung about, and some illustrated for. And each tale of history dictates the way of its world.

A story, that when juxtaposed with its historical counterpart doesn’t merely become another layer for history and/or tradition; but instead obstructs the path of narration. A story that lays bare the possibilities of origins and of conclusions.

The Artist holding to their studio practice and method of storytelling – using a known/unknown technique or developing an ancient technique or an art form to construct a fictional story in any form. The story, which leads to unfolding the superstitions or myths of, so-called long-standing ‘Pratha’ (practice) which can be mistaken as a tradition. Unknowingly we do develop a language – which later becomes restricted to rules and regulations. Some older forms / techniques are still relevant but some are followed just in the name of maintaining the practice.

A Sutradhar has the responsibility to string the gaps together. It could be fiction / non-fiction, reel, reality, rumor, myth; the form could be the story or the story is the form. A story narrated through practice – which also addresses these confined spaces.

I am Sutradhar’ is to string the pieces of a story together that doesn’t conceal, but reveals the bandages of norms that mummify us. Yes we preserve through tradition, but are we alive?   


Artists’ Bio

Afrah Shafiq (b. 1989)
Bangalore - Mumbai –Goa

Afrah Shafiq lives and works in the world of documentary film, visual art, multimedia and web projects sometimes as artist, editor, writer, designer and at other times as a manager, producer and facilitator. She has a special interest in animation, digital illustration, and collage.

Amritah Sen (b.1973)
Calcutta – Kolkata

Amritah Sen studied art at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan with painting as her specialization. Ever since receiving her MFA in 1999, she has been practicing as an artist based in the city of Kolkata.  Amritah has shown her works frequently in group shows across venues in India, Europe and USA. She has also done nine solo shows till date in Kolkata, New Delhi and Mumbai and has participated in different art fairs including Dhaka Art Summit, India Art Fair and United Art Fair. She has done residencies in different South Asian countries with her own projects and also participated in research projects organized by Khoj Kolkata, Art Ichol, M.P. and NexUs Kathmandu. She currently specializes in book art, and is the co-curator of ‘Things Lost/Remembering the Future,’ a series of pan South Asian art shows. She has been a finalist of Sovereign Asian Art Award 2018.

Gayatri Kodikal 
Bangalore – Mumbai – Goa

Gayatri Kodikal draws her inspiration from esoteric sources of documentary and archival material. She started her practice in experimental film and sound design, and is currently working with game and playful media. Her work is anarchival (
the question is how what moves an event into taking form can be archived, as opposed to documenting the content of the event), decolonial, leading towards the ghosts and futures of feminine identity. Her education in psychology and film/video pilot her curiosities and adventures in artistic research with a flavor for science fiction. She also holds a certificate in film preservation and restoration praxis.

Madhu Das (b. 1987)
Chitradurga – Bangalore – Mumbai

Madhu Das received his BFA from College of Fine Arts, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bengaluru and an MFA from S. N. School of Fine Arts, Performing Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad . He was the recipient of the Inlaks Fine Arts Award in 2015, shortlisted for Emerging Indian Visual Artists by Delfina Foundation, UK, in 2014 and visiting fellow artist at the Harvard South Asia institute, Cambridge,USA (2017),  

Apart from his solo show "Work in Progress" at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bengaluru (2009), Madhu has been part of numerous group shows. His works have been shown at the Harvard South Asia institute, Cambridge,USA (2017), HH Art Spaces, Goa, India (2017),The Curriculum by Creative Time Summit in partnership with ArtOxygen& Studio-X, Mumbai (2015), The Conflicted Issue of Change and Urbanism – a compilation of video art curated by Gayatri Sinha at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2014), Sarai Reader 09, curated by Raqs Media Collective at Devi Art Foundation, Delhi (2013) and the first edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2012). Most recently, Madhu was artist-in-residence at Bamboo Curtain Studio, Taiwan (2018), HH Art Spaces, Goa, India (2017), TIFA Working Studio’s Artel Residency, Pune (2016). He has also been part of the Sarai Reader 09, Devi Art Foundation, Delhi (2013), Sethu Residency, Theertha International Artists Collective, Colombo, Sri Lanka (2010) 

Mansi Bhatt (b.1975)
Bombay – Mumbai

Mansi Bhatt is a contemporary artist working within the challenges of performance and photography. Graduated in the year 2000 from sir J J School of Art in painting, she then received a fellowship by the Mumbai University. Her art has been shown in India and abroad in galleries, museums and other art spaces including four solo exhibitions and several residencies in India and USA and group shows in various parts of the world including the Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art, Pittsburgh. She was nominated for the Skoda prize for contemporary art in 2010 among the Top Twenty Indian Contemporary Artists. She has also been invited to prestigious international Biennales like the 9th Shanghai Biennale 2012, Vancouver Biennial 2014 and most recently the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016/17. Her performances in public realm address the politics of complex human behaviour and open up larger questions to society.

Along with her art practice she has also been teaching at Kamla Raheja Vidhyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies. 

Paroma Sadhana (b.1986)
Delhi – Mumbai

An alumni of School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, Delhi, Paroma has over 7 years of work experience in the cultural sector of Bombay. She has previously worked with Majlis Culture and was part of the five-year-long Cinema City project that sought to enquire the interstices of the city's history and the cinema industry. She led the research into single screen cinema theatres, a subject on which she edited and published a slim volume titled "Cinema Theatres in Bombay/Mumbai: A Dossier". As part of the project she was actively involved as a researcher, writer, artist, producer and editor. 

She has also freelanced as a writer/editor and some of her recent projects include writing chapters for a book on the built heritage of the MMR region; research and writing for Sunjoy Monga's new book on Water; and writing and editing work for WWF.  

Paroma's interests range from urban studies, filmmaking, video art to animal welfare.

Priyanka Jain (b.1985) 
Calcutta - Kolkata – Gurgaon

Priyanka Jain achieved her BFA from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata in 2008 and attended the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, Germany between 2008-2015. She has received Scholarship from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and from the Art Foundation of the State of Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. She has exhibited at the Kunstverein Konstanz, 
Kunstverein Hechingen, U-Centre for the Arts in Dortmund, Literaturhaus Stuttgart in Germany and has held art performance at Goethe Institute in Kolkata. Priyanka is interested in oral and visual storytelling, has undertaken research on oral arts in Kenya and is a member of the Illustration Research. She has published two artist books.

Sachin Kondhalkar (B.1981)
Bombay - Mumbai

Sachin Kondhalkar 
is a visual artist based in Mumbai, India. He graduated in Drawing & Painting from L.S. Raheja School of Art in 2005. Since then he has been working as visual development artist for film. His practice mainly involves painting, illustration and video.

Archana Hande (b.1970)
Rourkela – Mangalore – Bombay 

She holds a B.F.A & M.F.A in print making, from Viswa-bharati, Santiniketan, and M.S University, Baroda. She has participated in many international and national group shows along with few solos to her credit. Co-Curated ‘Project Cinema City’ 2012, Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Berlin. She has been involved in few research projects. Along with her art practice she has also been teaching, designing and photographing for books.

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