SARAH AHMAD | 15 DECEMBER, 2017
Art in Winter’s Solitude
Too many pieces of a broken heart, an evident load, a marked aloneness. Yet somehow it strides to wear a shirt or eat a piece of loaf with tea, it still needs things, it still thinks. It is a sunny winter day, yet cold and quiet seconds make a mundane minute. The resplendent aura of art is what can make this dreary hour an enlivening one; thus, I write, they write, they paint, I paint, and there goes by a week of mesmeric solitude, and months of art bringing those once fragmented pieces of the spirit, together.
Art is a person, a being which occupies pieces of paper, often defining cities and communities it lives in, becoming an orator for change, an activist of hope. The Khirkee Festival is a four-day festival of the arts, taking place in December, organised by Khoj International Artists’ Association. The Festival is a celebration of the cultural multiplicity of Khirkee, a colony in Delhi. The Festival brings to the foreground a variety of narratives about and from the neighbourhood through exhibitions, interventions, music, theatre, sports, bazaars and food.
Artists often believe in entertaining and involving a niche audience in what they try to convey. A few people become part of a story woven on sunny afternoons and eerie evenings. From workshops, to talks, plays and stand-up acts, artists are constantly conversing with people who are willing to pay attention to what they have to say.
Paint & Vineyard, a series of workshops at the Piano Man Jazz Club, Delhi, brings together small groups of art lovers, over weekends, who can socialise and create paintings by famous artists, from Picasso, Munch, Vincent Van Gogh to Indian artists like MF Hussain, SH Raza, Manjit Bawa, to name a few. The workshop includes good food, new comrades, wine and conversations about art and anything under the sun. One can also visit the newly opened Canvas Laugh Club in Noida to catch popular stand-up comedy acts from around the country and abroad.
Fragments can build walls of unity, language has the power to do that, making one familiar with the other through a common dialect. A talk on the significance of the Urdu language in contemporary India, Nashist- Whose Language is it anyway is an interactive evening with scholars of Urdu Language and literature, featuring writer Nand Kishore Vikram and Prof. Ali Javed from Delhi University, who also heads the Progressive Writers’ Association. The discussion involves the finer nuances of Urdu, its popularity and evolution in the Sub-continent.
The Kunzum Travel Café in Hauz Khas Village hosts a day of learning the art of Arabic Calligraphy taught by master Arabic Calligrapher, Abdur Rehman. The written word becomes a form of art, language becoming a victor at human relationships and bringing together baffling pieces of the heart, through art.
Often Art is only an accomplice to a narrative, about broken spirits, scattered pieces of history around parks, behind modern day structures and into forgotten alley ways. Heritage Winter Walks around the capital city have become popular, making us visit and re-think the existence of historical structures and stories in modern day society. From visits to the Humayun’s Tomb, Nizamuddin Dargah, Lodi Gardens, Hauz Khas Village, Qutub Minar, to the sites and sound of Old Delhi, and the many other historical landmarks Delhi can boast of, one can join Sohail Hashmi’s Delhi Heritage Walks, INTACH’s Heritage Walks, Delhi Food Walks, and various others during the winter months.
Those pieces of a broken art, battle to become one, yet momentarily they find their way, into wet dreams about poetic anecdotes, to painted street sides, and often write sonnets, paint abstract thoughts and cry rivers of pain on pieces of art. And the tears of solitude get frozen into those still, moving, swaying lines.
Khirkee Festival by Khoj International Artists Association: From 14th-17th December at Khirkee Extension, New Delhi
Explore Traditional Arabic Calligraphy by Katib Abdur Rehman: 17th December, at The Kunzum Travel Café, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi
Nashist: Whose Language is it anyway? A Talk on the Urdu Language: 23rd December, at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
Paint & Vineyard Workshops: Every Saturday at the Piano Man Jazz Club, Safdarjung Enclave Market, New Delhi