Thursday, 15 September 2016

A Tomb a day!

Not sure I will make a ‘Tomb a day’ quota, but certainly worth a try! There are far more tombs than I have days in Delhi, but lets see…
Yesterday afternoon showers brought a fresh change to the humidity and I set out with my brolly to visit the tomb of Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, which is now included within the extended Humayun's Tomb World Heritage Site.

It is a most pleasing form,  square-sided upon a raised platform. Gorgeous double dome with chattris located at each corner. The grave is located in the central chamber which is not accessible while the conservation work is occurring. It will be a great treat to eventually return to see the final result.

Sahil Ahuja writes of Abdul Rahim Khn-I-Khana in:
“Khanzadah Mirza Khan Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khana (1556-1626 AD) is one of the most famous poets of the Indian Subcontinent. He was under the service of the Mughal emperors Akbar (ruled AD 1556-1605) & Jahangir (ruled AD 1605-1628). He was Akbar’s step-son & also among his “Navratnas” (“Nine jewels”), a group of powerful courtiers & prominent military Generals, each highly skilled at some past time such as poetry or singing. Rahim’s couplets are still taught as part of Hindi curriculum throughout India, making him one of the most widely read composers in the country.”

Perhaps such a criteria in the job specifications of contemporary generals might make for a saner world!

The main body of the tomb is closed for restoration so my exploration was confined to the lower level alcoves that wrap around the ground floor. These are intimate spaces, a few metres square. Many have carved decoration in their vaulted ceilings.

It was rather lovely to wander about amidst the leafy green foliage and document the intricate carvings, undisturbed by the guard, groups of workmen and a pack of chilled out dogs.

On my way home I purchased a bunch of tuber roses from the flower seller outside the gate, they are now perfuming my living space.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

New website launched this week!

This week as I officially start my Asialink residency with the Humayun's Tomb - Nizamuddin Basti Urban Renewal Initiative in Delhi, it seems particularly appropriate to launch my new website which reveals the profound impact that my ongoing relationship with India has had in shaping both my art practice and my life.
I have really enjoyed working with Rachel Rolfe at Lead Based Ink Graphic Design to create the site. I would like to thank her and the many many creative friends and colleagues who have contributed to the work you will see. Far too many artists, photographers, curators, writers, craftsmen, clients, architects, funding bodies, kind friends and family to list individually.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Settling into the first week.

Wednesday September 14, 2016.

Day 6 and I am settling into a routine.

It is still warm in Delhi so the day has a natural rhythm. After early start to get out for a walk, then tea and breakfast before work begins.

Six days in and I have reconnected with dear friends, had a first friendly meeting with my residency hosts, found and visited an art supplies shop, watched Abbas Kiarostami’s Like Someone in Love at an outdoor screening at a fabulous new studio (more of that later), eaten some delicious food AND started to learn the streets of my neighbourhood through the tread of my feet.  

The walking is important as it synchs my internal GSP system! It also allows for chance encounters with others that can provide a rich lode of information. A polite greeting to a fellow walker led to a conversation with a resident happy to share stories of her family’s arrival in the district to make a new home when the land was uncleared. Really interesting to get such a direct account and hear of how national events shaped individual experience…