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Serendipity Barefoot School of Craft: Made in Goa

Serendipity Barefoot School of Craft is a two-year project which, for this edition of the festival, consists of an architectural competition. The display of all complete submissions and a selection of 15 submissions for development into architectural models will be showcased at SAF 2017.

The Serendipity Barefoot School of Craft seeks to raise awareness about the importance of our continued and collective engagement with local environments, skills, materials and crafts pedagogy.

1. Space Intervention

Every year since 2000 the Serpentine Gallery has commissioned a temporary summer pavilion by a leading architect.
In 2017 Gando, Francis Kéré has designed a responsive Pavilion that seeks to connect its visitors to nature – and each other. An expansive roof, supported by a central steel framework, mimics a tree’s canopy, allowing air to circulate freely while offering shelter against London rain and summer heat.
Kéré has positively embraced British climate in his design, creating a structure that engages with the everchanging London weather in creative ways. The Pavilion has an open air courtyard in the centre where visitors can sit and relax during sunny days. The roof and wall system are made from wood. Similar to the concept of the Serpentine Gallery, the Serendipity Barefoot School of Craft Pavilion will be a sustainable and eco-friendly structure that responds to Goa and shall have an exhibition of architectural models. More importantly, we hope to create a space for an architectural intervention – even in the future.

2. Sustainability

– SAT focuses and has a mandate to respond to Goa as a space and aims to involve the Goan. We are
looking at a pavilion that responds to Goa as well.
– Bamboo as a material must be used.
– Low Carbon Footprint
– The design and production shall need to be based on the use of low skill labour


3. Pavilion shall showcase

– excellence in Design
– proposal entries as well as the 15 shortlisted models
-the space is an intervention of art, crafts, design and most importantly architecture
– post the Festival – it could be a resting point for walkers and visitors

4. Spatial Brief

As per the survey, the site(paved rectangular patch) is approximately 1100 sq.ft. Surrounding area can be used as per design. The structure should be able to host around 40 people at one time and must incorporate all the functions mentioned below:
(i) Oven space where this will be the live aspect of the pavilion where bakers shall
 need a traditional oven.
 Bake the traditional breads of Goa with some intervention (e.g: adding sea salt)
 Allow people and other bakers to come discuss and comment
 Maybe sell the breads as well as have tasting for the audiences
The space allotted to this would be 100 sq ft which will include the oven, bread resting racks and fermentation area.
The oven shall cover approximately 60 sq ft.
Remarks: To avoid fire hazards this would need to be outside and not within the pavilion.
Wet space would be needed as water may be needed for the preparation of dough, hand washing and incase of fire hazard.
(ii) Prototyping Area which is only for
– Showcasing objects made of bamboo
– Highlighting the history of bamboo
 Shelves for 10 prototypes like bamboo spectacle frames, bamboo spectacle cases, coconut shell and ceramic buttons, etc
 Information and graphics about the prototypes
 Information of where the designs come from?
(iii) Main Exhibition Space for
– 15 models and proposals
– 3 to 4 feedback pedestals possibly near the entry/exit with tablets (which would need to be secured). This area would be accessed by the public. The space shall also have the option of a
manual feedback as well, so provision to keep questionnaires printed on recycled paper shall be there.


5. Other Elements
(i) Minimal electricity usage
(ii) naturally ventilated
(iii) – The Pavilion should be one that can be retained for a period of 6 months to year, if permission is given to leave it. If needed to be removed, it should be completely removable without any footprints
(iv) no wet area needed (except in Oven area)
6. Need for Design intervention at Bhagwan Mahavir Children’s Park
We are on a journey to explore and reinvent Panjim as a cultural space, and we believe that interventions through contemporary designs play a crucial role. With “Serendipity Barefoot School of Craft: Made in Goa”, we aim to showcase this intervention with traditional craft forms and sustainable yet contemporary architectural designs.
As we have this journey is one that will expand over the years, we would like to use the Children’s Park for the pilot part of the project and merge architecture and craft, reinventing the natural space through sustainable design and create a foundation for architects to build on in the coming phases of the project.

Vernacular spectacular: Craft goes mainstream at India Art Fair | By Neelam Raaji Times of India

NEW DELHI: It’s pretty rare to see Gond and Madhubani paintings rub noses with the Subodh Guptas and Manjit Bawas. It’s even stranger when the setting is the India Art Fair, where commerce takes precedence over culture.
Tribal, folk, naive or native art — all labels that art historians now vehemently oppose — is usually to be found in craft museums, trade fairs or Dilli Haat. Most contemporary art shows give it a wide berth. At best, you get the odd work hung in the name of “inclusion”.
But with the India Art Fair, once considered a scrappy upstart, becoming more confident of its place on the global art map, it’s decided to not only represent work from across South Asia but also widen the definition of contemporary Indian art to include vernacular art.

At the ‘Vernacular in Flux’ section curated by art historian Annapurna Garimella hang some of the best names in Gond, Mithila and Guruvayoor art. “I feel the term vernacular is more apt as it signifies a traditional art language without the limitations that terms like folk, tribal or native have,” says Garimella, who has borrowed works of artists like Gond’s Bhajju Shyam and Mithila’s Baua Devi from noted private collections.

And proving that craft and contemporary are not two different worlds is Gond artist Durga bai Vyam. If one of her accordion books titled Purani Shaadi shows a big, fat and long wedding, Nayi Shadi is short and sweet. Boy sees girl, they romance over a mobile, have a no-fuss shaadi and ride off into the sunset on a scooter. “Though the artists have a committed engagement to traditional knowledge, they are very much influenced by the world around them,” points out Garimella.
Delhi-based Gallery Espace has devoted one booth to 19th century leather puppets from Karnataka that have been painstakingly restored, and plans to expand the initiative.
“Galleries are beginning to put serious consideration into becoming more diverse,” says Garimella. But her worry, shared by many, is that if the market dries up, commitment might dry up with it.

“Mutable”: ceramic and clay art in India since 1947 at Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai

Reposted from: http://artradarjournal.com

“Mutable” showcases diverse ceramic and clay art objects sourced from artists, artisans, institutions and private collectors from across India.

This landmark exhibition, curated by Sindhura D.M. with Annapurna Garimella, is one of the first of its kind in the city and is on display at the Piramal Museum of Art until 15 January 2018.

Abhay Pandit, Tension of Lines (Seascape), 2014-15, Stoneware, h 18 x w 14 in. Image courtesy the artist and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

Abhay Pandit, Tension of Lines (Seascape), 2014-15, stoneware, h 18 x w 14 in. Image courtesy the artist and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

Building links between the vernacular and the modern

Pottery in India has evolved in the last 70 years since attaining independence from its functional aspects as a utilitarian household item into an aesthetic object and work of art, thereby making a place for itself in the contemporary art space of today. This has been an eventful journey. An important aspect of the nation-building agenda of independent India was theengagement of rural arts and crafts with the nationalist discourse. Pottery, weaving and textiles played an equally critical role alongside painting, sculpture and architecture in the development of a new Indian aesthetic as artists tried to revitalise India’s cultural heritage by using indigenous elements in their practice.

Vineet Kacker, Khojun…Ya Kho Jaun (Should I Look For You, Should I Lose Myself), 2016, Mixed Media, Image courtesy the artist and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

Vineet Kacker, Khojun…Ya Kho Jaun (Should I Look For You, Should I Lose Myself), 2016, mixed media. Image courtesy the artist and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

During the course of the 20th century, as artists started focusing on individuality, creativity and personal expression, ceramic and clay art developed its own aesthetic language and established itself as a distinct art form – transcending the humble status of its colonial past by incorporating new technologies and modern materials. As stated in the Piramal Museum exhibition brochure,

Mutable: Ceramic and Clay Art in India Since 1947 surveys this changing social, cultural, ecological and visual landscape and explores the enormous range of cultural practices that deal with aesthetics, function and sustainability. The pivotal point of the exhibition is the building of links or bridges between images of the vernacular and of modern art and design.

K Laxma Goud, Untitled and undated, 2017, Ceramic, h 21.96 x w 20.98 x d 10.00 inches, Image courtesy the Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

K Laxma Goud, Untitled and undated, 2017, ceramic, h 21.96 x w 20.98 x d 10.00 in. Image courtesy the Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

Diversity, creativity and partnerships

Mutable showcases the diverse range of pottery-making in India and displays the works of 80 artists from across the country including Gurcharan Singh who is acknowledged as the pioneer of Indian studio pottery, the versatile Devi Prasad who was a painter, potter and lifelong pacifist, and Ray Meeker and Deborah Smith, the founders of Puducherry’s Golden Bridge Pottery and leading educators in the field of contemporary ceramic art.

It also presents the works of leading artists with heterogeneous practices, who have used clay as one of the various media in their repertoire, such as K. G. SubramanyanLaxma GoudHimmat Shah, N. N. Rimzon, Nek Chand Saini and MrinaliniMukherjeeIn order to celebrate the efforts of hereditary potters, “Mutable” also introduces visitors to the practices of famous father-son duos such as Delhi-based Bhuvnesh and Giri Raj Prasad (both National Award winners), and Padma Shriawardee Brahmdeo Ram and Abhay Pandit, trailblazing ceramists from Mumbai.

“Mutable”, 13 October 2017 – 1 January 2018, installation view at Piramal Museum of Art, Image courtesy the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

“Mutable”, 13 October 2017 – 15 January 2018, installation view at Piramal Museum of Art. Image courtesy the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

The exhibition throws a spotlight on ceramic and clay practices as they have emerged out of India’s art schools and also focuses on work done by institutions working with potters across the country such as FabindiaNeerja International, Gwalior Pottery and Mitotic Commenting. On the vast diversity presented in the exhibition curators Annapurna Garimellaand Sindhura D.M. said:

Clay and ceramic are vernacular, classic, modern and plural; they change and endure. Mutablecelebrates seventy years of creative work with these materials, presenting an Indian history of ideas, art, design and technology.”

Brahmdeo Ram Pandit, Crystalline Ceramics, 2016, Stoneware, h 17 in. Image courtesy the artist and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

Brahmdeo Ram Pandit, ‘Crystalline Ceramics’, 2016, stoneware, h 17 in. Image courtesy the artist and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

Tradition meets technology

As the makers of utilitarian pottery in India have historically been artisanal potters, artists have always been involved in reviving traditional techniques while assimilating new technologies into their ceramic and clay practicesThis is clearly evident in the heterogeneity of styles, textures, designs and purposes of the objects on display at Mutable which are organised into five sections  – ‘Shift’, ‘Utility’, ‘Form’, ‘Object’ and ‘Perception’. Commenting on the broad range of practices of the featured potters, artists, ceramists and organisations that have been working with clay, exhibition curator SindhuraD.M. says:

Respecting this diversity, the term ‘maker’ is privileged throughout the exhibition to describe and place potters, artists and ceramists in a broader field of ceramic and clay practice. Some makers produce more than one type of work which may include functional ware as well as sculpture. This has led us to include them in more than one section in the exhibition . . . The vast diversity of today’s work with clay, which is presented in this exhibition, is an indicator of the change that is happening within practices.

Aman Khanna, Acute, Obtuse, Straight and Right, 2017, Ceramic/Stoneware, h 12 inches approximately, Image courtesy the artist and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

Aman Khanna, Acute, Obtuse, Straight and Right, 2017, ceramic/stoneware, h 12 in approximately. Image courtesy the artist and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

It was artist Gurcharan Singh’s experience of Japanese studio pottery that enabled him to push the boundaries of form, technique and material and introduce stoneware, dull glazes and unusual shapes of tableware in his practice – evident in the exhibition Kettle, Coffee Cup and Saucers. In the 1970s, it was the pioneering efforts of artists such as Singh and others like Ray Meeker and Deborah Smith who started Golden Bridge Pottery in Puducherry that paved the way for the younger generation of potters to explore new techniques and develop their creativity. Artists such as Vineet Kacker’s work conflates art, design and craft. Exploiting the tactility of clay, he is able to incorporate layers of meaning into his work by expanding its capacity for creative expression. In KhojunYa Kho Jaun (Should I Look for You or Should I Lose Myself)(2016) Kacker merges the earthiness of clay with the modernity of digital technology to create a multimedia installation that urges you to question the spiritual connection between the medium and nature.    

Daily Dump, Khamba 3T, 2017, Terracotta, 15.5 x 30.5 in. Image courtesy the Piramal Art Foundation, Mumbai.

Daily Dump, Khamba 3T, 2017, Terracotta, 15.5 x 30.5 in. Image courtesy the Piramal Art Foundation, Mumbai.

In the ‘Utility’ section of the exhibition due recognition has been given to commercial organisations such as Gwalior Pottery and Fabindia that have championed the cause of developing utilitarian items while providing sustainable livelihoods to many generations of potters. This section also includes some unconventional products such as Daily Dump’s Khamba 3 T(2017), a terracotta composter, and Mitticool’s terracotta Refrigerator (2017), which shows that out-of-the-box thinking has given new life to age-old craft techniques. ‘Form’ features the work of traditional potters like Brahmdeo Ram Panditwho received the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the country, in 2013 and was adept at using different glazes – a skill he acquired by training in several institutions across the world and imbibing international best practices todevelop a studio pottery enterprise.

Gwalior Pottery, Small Milk Jugs, Image courtesy the collection of Anuradha Ravindranath, New Delhi and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

Gwalior Pottery, Small Milk Jugs. Image courtesy the collection of Anuradha Ravindranath, New Delhi and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

Diversity in expression

In an attempt to highlight the role played by clay as a medium of creative expression that redefined the art of modern day India, ‘Object’ includes exhibits such as the works of artist and educator K. Subramanyan and his student K. Laxma GoudSubramanyan supported the Gandhian philosophy of promoting indigenous arts and crafts and urged his Santiniketanstudents to derive something new from the familiar, everyday objects. This is evident in Laxma Goud’s untitled work which is on display in “Mutable” that has the artist using his customary rustic vivacity and earthy style to layer paint on a humble clay plate.

In ‘Perception’, the visitor is urged to look beyond material, tradition and purpose, to acknowledge the importance of the design, the technique and the identity of the maker. Water pots from different parts of India that are on display here show how different artists and artisans explore aesthetics and functionality in a manner  unique to their geographical location, cultural background and education.

Gurcharan Singh, Kettle, Coffee Cups and Saucers, 1970s, Acrylic, fabric, plywood, glue, fiberglass, iron, rexine, plastic and crystal, 77 x 40 x 28, Image courtesy the collection of Anuradha Ravindranath, New Delhi and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

Gurcharan Singh, Kettle, Coffee Cups and Saucers, 1970s, acrylic, fabric, plywood, glue, fibreglass, iron, rexine, plastic and crystal, 77 x 40 x 28 in. Image courtesy the collection of Anuradha Ravindranath, New Delhi and the Piramal Museum of Art, Mumbai.

It is this conflation of characteristics of the medium that gives it an aesthetic beauty and technological complexity that transforms even the functional and the utilitarian into a work of art. It is this creative diversity in clay and ceramic practices that “Mutable” seeks to celebrate.

 Amita Kini-Singh


“Mutable. Ceramic and Clay Art in India since 1947” is on view from 13 October 2017 to 15 January 2018 at Piramal Museum of Art, B Wing, Piramal Tower, Peninsular Corporate Park, Lower Parel West, Mumbai 400013.

Related topics: Indianceramicsidentitytechnologymuseum showsMumbai 

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Dr. Annapurna Garimella is a designer and an art historian who focuses on the art and architecture of India and is based in Bangalore, India. She heads Jackfruit, a research and design organization, with a specialized portfolio of design and curatorial projects for artists, museums, government and private organizations and non-profits. Jackfruit’s most recent project is Vernacular, in the Contemporary for Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi.  She is also founder of Art, Resources and Teaching Trust, a not-for-profit organization that gathers resources and promotes research and teaching in art and architectural history, archaeology, crafts, design, and other related disciplines in academic and non-academic fora. She was the former Research Editor and Advisory Board Member for Marg Publications and is currently on the board of the S N School of Art and Communication, University of Hyderabad. She has written several essays on contemporary art and edited and contributed to two volumes, Shaping the Indian Modern on the work of Mulk Raj Anand and along with Bhanu Padamsee, Akbar Padamsee: Work in Language.