Monday, 3 December 2018

Artreach Announcement: UDBHAV 2 -A Community Art Grant awarded to artist Avinash Karn

We are delighted to announce that artist Avinash Karn has received the Artreach Community Arts Grant for his project Udhbhav II:

Avinash inititated 'Udhbhav', through an Artreach Community Grant in 2015-16, with the aim to bring Madhubani painting to tribal women of Chandidih Village, Jharkhand. Together they painted about their lives and dreams on walls and beautiful scrolls - these were exhibited across venues. This week, Avinash leads 3 participants of Udhbhav I through a 10 days long residency at Varanasi. Here, the artists will get to explore a new culture, university, art institutions and also experiment further in their creative trajectories within a studio space!

We wish the participants - Maini Devi, Sunita Devi and Radhesh Oraon and Avinash all the very best for their time together at Varanasi.

For more on Udhbhav I:
Avinash receiving Three artists of Udbhav-2 at Varanasi station. (File photo: 2018)

Avinash Karn is an artist from Ranti village, Madhubani, Bihar. He chose to take up Madhubani's eloquent art form to greater heights, and studied at Benares Hindu University. Based in Varanasi currently, the artist has received the Piramal Art Foundation arts residency (2016), was awarded with a Grant for a community art project by Artreach India (2016); received a Scholarship in the field of Madhubani Painting, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, New Delhi (2014-16) among others. He has worked on several large scale mural paintings and his works have been exhibited and collected worldwide.

(ARTREACH INDIA, (Org., New Delhi)

Friday, 24 November 2017

Support Artreach Festival 2017


Support the Artreach Festival at
Painting by a young tribal girl from village Chandidih In Rural Jharkhand who participated in our Community Project Udbhav with artist Avinash Karn.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Our 1st Painting Workshop at Chandidih

Artreach India and members of 'Udbhav' has decided to start painting workshop. So that, at the end of the Project, we could have wonderful paintings by tribal artists for an exhibition purpose.
Today on Dec.25th, 2016, we have started five days' long full-time Madhubani painting workshop with 12 regular members.
In this workshop, I (Avinash Karn ) personally want to push members to work over their thought process and finally passed whole day discussing how they can transform their inner world into visuals.
I was surprised with the result. Artists including young Nikita and others can imagine at such extent which was really difficult to transform into drawings.  But after many attempts, they drew compositions at satisfactory level.
Nikita want to see the point where earth and sky meet and finally she used Qutub Minar (as she believe, it is tallest tower in the country) to see the horizon.
This journey is quite interesting and I believe, the rest of these four days will be more challenging for me as well.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Artreach Project documented by Discovery Channel

'Udbhav', Community Art Project by Artreach India has been documented by Discovery Channel in the show #IndiaMyWay (Episode 10th) and broadcasts on Dec.18th, 2016. 

Village Chandidih and local artists has been included in this episode. Thanks to Artreach, once again for supporting 'Udbhav' and related artists. We are really excited to start our next workshop in the end of this year.
More on this facebook link: Click Here 

Some clips from Episode10th, IndiaMyWay

Friday, 16 September 2016

Maini Devi : Reborn to create her own world!

Good news about Maini Devi, One of the Participating members of “Udbhav".
Mark on her stomach
Maini Devi had treatment by an Ojha (the exorcist) on Blind Faith of the villagers and also because of unavailability of Medical facility in the area. Once Ojha applied red burning knife on her stomach to get rid of evil spirits, curses. It left only marks forever but couldn’t solve her problem (see photos).

When ‘Udbhav’ got support from friends, we started her treatment at RIMS Hospital, Ranchi. A tumor kind of muscle has been removed successfully by the team of proficient doctors.
A month ago, On facebook, I have posted a video of Maini Devi, working on a Mural Painting and asked for support for her medical treatment. I am lucky to having many supportive friends on facebook as well as in non-virtual world. And ‘Udbhav’ received supports from three cities- Delhi, Varanasi and Ranchi, for Maini Devi’s treatment. (Names have not been mentioned as per the requests)
I wish Maini Devi for quick recovery as I am ready for my next visit to Chandidih, Jharkhand where I will be working with her on the new wall.
Maini Devi painting a Mural in 'Udbhav'

Friday, 9 September 2016

Finding Life -The Story of Dharmnath

I went to Chandidih and connected all participant once again for mural work. As expected, every participants worked with the same spirit, they had shown during the execution of first Mural.
The weather was not appropriate and all of us found many problems in doing this mural. However rain couldn't hamper the dedication of learning and creation. On the last day, all of us had three new murals on three different walls.
Surface coating by the wall owner and participants (File Photo: Avinash Karn_Artreach_Udbhav Project_2016_Jharkhand.)

Drawing is the first step (File Photo: Avinash Karn_Artreach_Udbhav Project_2016_Jharkhand).
Maini Devi Drawing Tree (File Photo: Avinash Karn_Artreach_Udbhav Project_2016_Jharkhand.)
I am Guiding Dharmnath and others in Mural works (File Photo: Avinash Karn_Artreach_Udbhav Project_2016_Jharkhand.)
Young Participants working on Dharmnath story (File Photo: Avinash Karn_Artreach_Udbhav Project_2016_Jharkhand.)

We painted mural on Dharmnath wall titled, 'Finding Life -The story of Dharmnath'. This painting talks about different aspects of life that is surviving without medical facilities in the area. In one part of the painting Dharmnath is flying with 'Sanjeevni Buti' (Life giving herbs, as Hanuman brought for Laxman in Ramayana epic) for his perennially sick mother.
Dharmnath bringing  Sanjeevni Buti(Life giving herbs) for his Mother.

In other part of the composition, people are collecting herbs from tree and Vaidh (local doctor) suggesting plants and giving treatment to his patients. 
Vaidh (local Doctor) giving medicine to the patient.
(File photo: Avinash Karn_Artreach Udbhav Project_2016_Jharkhand)

(File photo: Avinash Karn_Artreach Udbhav Project_2016_Jharkhand)

I observed the life of these local people very closely and translated them into visuals. First, I described subject with participants and then left all of them free to compose their own thoughts. Many times I help participants in drawings and sometime figure making. Freedom gives better result as the participants enjoy expressing their own story and thoughts. When they make mistakes, they themselves realize and correct it in their own way.

All right reserved with Avinash Karn.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Art in the Time of Adversity

"I first thought not to tell him everything as the area is very sensitive which figures prominently on the Naxalite Belt. But he was looking very innocent and talking very gently. His name was Dharmnath Munda."

I was waiting for an auto on the roadside having upset face loaded with lots of desperation. When no any auto came to pick me up to Ranchi, I resorted to Jatri Devi's shop where I had a small tea and cigarette to lighten myself.

In the summer months, tribes usually go to jungle to collect firewood everyday which they store for the whole year. This custom made the participants temporarily unavailable for our project. It was clear that I would not be able to paint on this visit. As Radhesh (a local supporter of Udbhav Project) suggested, I finally had to postpone 'Udbhav' for this month.

When I found this visit unfruitful, I thought of using my day in consolidating my accommodation in the village. I always wanted a place amidst the people I have been working with so that I am in position to study closely their life and get a proper picture of how much and in what forms art can be possible there. Another reason I don't want to station anywhere other than Chandidih is the need to make more time for the murals. Going to Chandidih and coming back to Ranchi in total is 70-75 kms which almost devours one fifth of my waking hours travelling to and fro. This constant travel in autos in the scorching heat of Jharkhand is very troubling for my health, my pocket and my time.

Radhesh came forward to help me to fix me up at his own house. He offered me a room in which my co-occupant will be his hen and chicken. However, he has promised to deprive me of this adventure. He is too gentlemanly to allow me this. He has a folding bed and he will change its damaged straps to make it sleepable. As per his promise, It sounds lot more easier in the future for me to stay in the village Chandidih and work without having to bother climate and transportational hazards.

Hen_chicken_Goat_ photo  by ArtistAvinash Karn
Hen, goat, pigs are the common pet in the area.

Even after the promise for my accommodation closer to the murals, I was upset. Because when you leave all your personal works to engage yourself with a community art projects and you travel a lot for the same, and then suddenly, when you land in the area you find no one around to participate in it. These situations give you immense frustration- something which is too difficult to handle all on your own. I was feeling great despair at this lost chance (read sans mural trip). Nobody was there to help me at this level. However I had to control myself, started convincing my heart that I would finally overcome these challenges.

It is about 40kms long Journey from Chandidih to Ranchi. if you are very lucky you may get direct vehicle to Ranchi otherwise you need to change autos at intervals. I again returned back to the road to catch an auto after paying Jatri Devi for her tea and cigarette. Within a minute, a young boy came towards me and asked-

"Aap hi gaon me painting karte hain na?"

(You are the one who is painting in the village, isn't it?)

"Yes", I replied and started to inquire about him. I first thought not to tell him everything as the area is very sensitive which figures prominently on the Naxalite Belt. But he was looking very innocent and talking very gently. His name was Dharmnath Munda. He must be of 16-18 years of age. He only came to me to learn art. As per our conversation, he loves to draw mountains, house, flora and fauna. But due to preparation for his high school examination and earning liabilities for his home, he never gets chance to learn art.

He is the sole breadwinner in his family that consists of an unemployed father, a perennially sick housewife of a mother and one younger brother who is too small to earn spending most of his time with his pigs- so he is forced to do both- study and earn at the same time. 
Dharmnath has some chicken and few pigs from which he makes money once in a while.

Dharmnath Munda (left), his brother (middle), myself (right)and Dhamnath's mother (back)

Dhramnath invited me to his house to see the walls of his house. I couldn't say no to him and followed him to his house. It was right next to the road where I was waiting for an auto. I found his house with three walls ideal for the mural and Dharmnath has already prepared it with white wash.

Selling pathetic stories has never been my concern but to write about Dharmnath is a more obligation for me. I must clarify that Dharmnath has not prompted me in any way to take up his story. Long after hearing his story and leaving Dharmnath, this kept haunting me. The image of his mother who has been continually struggling with ill-medication after failed trips to hospitals in Ranchi and around. She is suffering as a result of proper diagnosis and care- something which has already claimed lives in his family in the past. The hopelessness Dharmnath is undergoing started growing on me. 
Medical facilities are a major issue in the area. I have came across many people who suffer ghastly diseases and try fixing it up locally and often without much success.
However, I am an artist with a heart. I consciously know  that I cannot completely erase everything that troubles these people I am working with for this project. Still I would love to garner help for Dharmnath who is a real hero in my eyes- a true warrior surrounded by adversities of all kinds. His family is important to him. That is why he is fighting tooth and nail to find food and health for them. 

I just want to aid him in this effort. There is one small way I can begin and that is by including him in my mural project. I would appreciate if people come forward and try help him in any way they can. Help in any way is welcome. Inbox us if you have anything for him. Udbhav will remain deeply obliged.

(email- /or /or Cc to both).

(This post is written by Avinash Karn and edited by Shantanu Das).