Before the 2020 SAISA Art and Music exhibition began, there were several key elements of the journey that needed to be clarified, one such aspect being the workshop in which I would be studying for the duration of the trip. The options were myriad, with such opportunities as painting, mixed media, photography, and paper art. All of these sounded intriguing, but I wanted to use this exhibition as a chance to step out of my artistic comfort zone and to explore new media to the fullest. Thus, I chose the paper art workshop. This particular selection was to be led by Sachin Tekade, a renowned Indian artist with extensive experience in the medium of paper. In fact, viewing Sachin’s incredible work online was one of the driving factors in my choice of workshop.
The focus of the first day of the SAISA Art trip for 2020 was primarily placed on gaining inspiration for the works that we would create over the next two days. This was achieved through tours of a number of Mumbai’s premier galleries, namely Jhaveri Contemporary, TARQ, Chatterjee and Lal, Chemould Gallery, and others. We visited five galleries in total, all located in south Mumbai, and were able to gain a plethora of ideas for how to experiment and work in the medium of paper. Some particularly interesting pieces we viewed included “That Which Divides and Bonds” (pictured above) and “Ripple” (numbers 1-9, a piece created by punching holes into Fabriano paper). Ultimately, the day was a great introduction to Indian art and allowed us to view how other artists had explored similar media and driving themes to ours.
On the second day of the SAISA Art journey, we were introduced to our workshop leaders and were given brief introductions to our workshop’s primary media. It was shortly after this time that I completed my first work (a sculptural work entitles “shack in a bamboo forest” which aimed to explore the manner in which humans can interact with and shape the natural environment). In the afternoon, we resumed our workshop sessions and I began work on my second and third series of pieces. These particular works had an especially interesting process behind them as I combined technology and traditional art in order to create what I believe are especially visually interesting pieces. Firstly, I took pictures of crumpled up paper using the Adobe Capture app (a mobile application which creates high contrast images) and adjusted the settings to achieve my desired effect. Secondly, I sent the images to a laser cutting machine and removed all of the positive space, which I then glued onto another piece of paper. The remainder of the original paper (with the cutout removed) became another piece, which I glued onto a cardboard background.
The final day’s focus was firmly placed on preparing for and setting up the exhibition. This was, however, prefaced by a few hours of studio work in the morning during which I completed my two final series (as pictured above). After lunch, we had some time to experiment with resources that were available within the design lab and the art rooms before creating the exhibition, and I hoped to conduct a few more tests concerning the capabilities of the laser cutter. Namely, I wanted to test and see whether a design that I had created for a woodcut print would look any different when made by technology, and suffice it to say that what had taken me ten hours to carve took the machine fifteen minutes (and the quality was vastly improved from my own woodcut). After our time for experimentation, we set up our exhibition and watched the final SAISA music performance (as their event had been running in parallel to ours). After a brief showing, we struck our exhibition and immediately set off for the airport, thus marking the end of our SAISA Art journey.
This trip was eye-opening for me in terms of the ways in which technology can impact art and can expand the capabilities of artists. Personally, the integration of technology into my artwork allowed me to spend less time in the creation phase and more time designing and creating concepts for visually appealing and engaging artworks. Moreover, the journey allowed me to experiment in another area in which I had no prerequisite knowledge – that of paper art – and even granted me the opportunity to build interpersonal relationships with individuals from other participating schools (as well as some from my own school). Ultimately, SAISA art greatly expanded the range of media that I am comfortable working in and allowed me to enrich my artistic arsenal.
- Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
- Working for a number of days with professional artists allowed me to recognize more areas for growth within myself than I previously thought possible. On the flip side of this, I was also able to gain confidence in certain abilities that I had which I had not previously recognized, thus demonstrating my ability to identify strengths and weaknesses.
- Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
- Participating in a workshop in which I had no prior experience (and frankly attending an art-related trip at all) was in itself a demonstration of new challenges being undertaken. As a result of these challenges, I was able to develop my artistic abilities, especially in the media that were in focus throughout the exhibition.
- Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
- Throughout the journey, I was constantly relying on the feedback and support of my fellow artists in order to guide my process and to ultimately allow me to create a more aesthetically effective final product. Gaining and giving constructive feedback certainly allowed me to demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively.
- Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
- Our essential theme throughout the workshop was “zero hour”, an evaluation of the climate crisis. By exploring this relevant thematic force, we were able to wholeheartedly engage with an issue of massive global significance.