• ‘Interference: An Upsurge’ | Kolkata, India

    Kolkata-based artist Jayeti Bhattacharya discusses her series of works

    exploring the turmoil of displacement after the 1947 Partition in Bengal¹ and its impact felt across generations into our present time.


    The sense of continuous external disturbance tends to develop the wave of turmoil within us. Being dislocated from a private space and searching for a new land to dwell in and to cope with harsh realities becomes a strenuous task to deal with. I wonder, does the interference stop thereafter?

    The conflicts and interference of the historical past of Partition in Bengal in 1947, with the invisible 'Radcliffe Line', play an important part in the families of those who crossed the border during that time.  Still now, the drifting from the original space to a newer space remains fresh in the mind. Being part of one such family, and hearing numerous stories from childhood till now, always makes me think about this issue.

    'Disintegration 1' Collected old photograph, watercolor, ink


    Standing in the present time, I find that nothing has changed. Maybe we do not draw any 'Radcliffe Line' now, but the internal conflicts, whether due to religion, caste, land, or home, remain the same.

    I started working on this issue and thought of representing it in different ways. One way I tried to represent it was in the visual form of waves. I used the coordinates from all districts of undivided Bengal to represent the interference.

    'Upsurge 1'  |  Graphite , watercolor, typed text


    Scientifically, interference is the resultant wave formed by the coinciding of other waves, overlapping in time and space. It is, in a way, the reality of time whether past or present.

    The question always remains unanswered. The unwanted interference -- or rather, purposeful interference --already divided us years ago through an invisible line, which is now being converted to continuous unsolicited interference.

    'Upsurge 3' | Mixed media on paper

    ¹In 1947, shortly after the independence from British rule, India separated into two independent countries: India and Pakistan. This separation involved in particular the states of Punjab (on the NorthWest of India) and Bengal (on the East), and saw the exodus of the Hindu population to India and of the Muslim population to Pakistan. Millions of people, threatened by this division along religious lines, were forced to move from their homes and lost everything.

    See the whole project here:



    Jayeti Bhattacharya, is an artist born in Kolkata, where she lives and works. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan in 2014. She is represented by Terrain.art and her first solo show ‘Shifting Coordinateswas featured on their website this year. She recently published work in the “Friction” edition of Haraka Journal (2020) and participated in CIMA award show (2019). Her work has been included in local and international exhibitions, and has been featured on the Emergent Art Space web platform, including the gallery series “Sky Falling” and ‘Looking Through Their Eyes’ (2019), a reflective piece on teaching art to children and teens.


    Many of Jayeti’s artworks include a combination of painting and mixed media. She seeks to reflect life experiences and the world, addressing overarching themes related to time, space, land, history and existential reality. In her recent and ongoing work, like the Interference series, she brings scientific and symbolic perspectives into the mix. 


  • ‘Migration and Extended Journeys’ | West Bengal, India

    Mixed-media artist Baishakhi Mehatori shares her recent work exploring patterns of human behavior connected to deep emotional states arising from surroundings and circumstances. Engaging themes from the plight of refugees and migration to pandemic realities, she amplifies our awareness, taking us step-by-step across the terrain.


    'On the way' | Acrylic on canvas

    I have always been inspired by aspects of human behavior which I try to explore in my work. Often human behavior reveals a deeper emotional state of mind and reflects a person’s interaction with his or her surroundings and circumstances over a period of time and space. I am interested in going beyond depicting a momentary reaction and aim to create a symbolic metaphor for the extended journey of a person’s life.

    I have tried to explore people’s reactions to the current pandemic situation, that everyone has been suddenly thrust into. Circumstances of migrant workers have captured our imagination for a long time, seeing scores of people walking back home from their places of work. Capturing a single moment of that walk can symbolize a nationwide movement and embody the existence and social circumstances of the journey of life, constantly moving towards a destination. People have historically moved and migrated in groups in search of work, better living conditions, etc.

    'How Far To Go?' | Acrylic on canvas

    Today, migration has become a very political term in popular discourse.  Human migration in large numbers is mainly discussed either in the context of daily wage labourers or refugees. However, there is not much talk about urban migration. Generally speaking, migration or movement is a human condition.  Being an urban migrant, I understand the duality of the sense of place that migration (especially for work) implicitly entails. The sense of place works on many levels. The impression of home (a place of safety and familiarity) gets reflected in other spaces, but at the same time is controlled and manipulated by external factors.

    Migration as a symbol of the journey of a person’s life and circumstances, has become a central theme of investigation in my work. I depict this journey through moments and steps reflecting the desire for home. Every day we set a new target to bring us one step closer.

    Untitled | Acrylic on canvas

    In this journey of life, we  assess ourselves with each step. Sometimes we are successful in such assessments, and sometimes we are not. Often, when we come across a new idea or thought, we try to mold ourselves accordingly. I have used patterns as metaphors for those ideas and thoughts. We do not know if we will be successful, but we still carry on. To fit ourselves with the mold or to adhere to circumstances that are often imposed, we continuously shape ourselves.

    In exploring people’s reaction to the current pandemic situation, I try to express my own experiences and their relationship to conditions in the outside world. Since the onset of the covid pandemic, everyone has had to adjust to a new way of life. Many things that were part of our normal lives became restricted overnight. I aim to portray the experiences of adjusting to this new situation. The whole process of work acquired new forms all over the world.

    I depict a moment. Through that moment I try to depict a larger journey and the interplay of factors that create that moment.




    Click here to see Baishakhi's complete series, 'Time, Space and Life Journeys'





    I was born in1992 in Birbhum district in West Bengal. I completed my BFA and MFA degree in painting in 2014 and 2016 from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal. I received Merit Certificates in painting. My artworks have been exhibited throughout India and abroad and I have participated in national and international art workshops. 





  • ‘MAKE-SHIFT STUDIOS’ | Shantiniketan, India

    EAS is pleased to highlight an exceptional exhibition that emerged from the Kala Bhavana, the Fine Arts department of Visva-Bharati University, a distinguished centre for visual art practice and research in India.  Students there, challenged by pandemic restrictions, created studios at home while communicating and sharing their work over the internet. Asking questions like ‘What happens when access to the studio is suddenly cut off?  How does it affect one’s practice?  Can one recreate/replace that space? What changes during that shift?’ co-curators Arpita Akhanda and Priyanka Sil, along with organizers Bihan Das & Biswajit Thakuria (current students), created an online exhibition highlighting students’ make-shift studios and work across the semester. Rahul Majumder, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of History of Art, shares here his review of the exhibition, revealing how limitations taken in stride can lead to new directions and innovations with the capacity to influence and transform art practices. 


    A Review for the 'Make-Shift Studios’- an online art exhibition 

    Navigating unprecedented circumstances and negotiating artistic language.


    by Rahul Majumder, Senior Research Fellow, Department of History of Art, Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati

    An artist's 'studio' had been the locus of discussion since its notion as an exclusive creative workspace emerged in the Renaissance workshops. Since then, through numerous 'isms', the concept of a studio has gone beyond just being a physical-geographical place to the psychological locale of a creative individual.

    The online platform, Kala Bhavana Student Initiative, created by the students of Kala Bhavana, is hosting 'Make-Shift Studio'- an online art exhibition since 12th July 2021, curated by Arpita Akhanda & Priyanka Shil and coordinated by Bihan Das & Biswajit Thakuria.  The exhibition explores the idea of transitory workspace developed by a set of 14 selected artists and two student collectives, as they were being cut off from institutional space in such unprecedented times. The exhibition makers visualised the dispersed location of the participants by pinning their artworks through hyperlinks on an interactive map of India. Clicking one hyperlink leads the viewer to each participant's own digital display space, further juxtaposed on a regional map where the said artist has created a transient workspace.

    Basic groupings can be formed to discuss the artistic oeuvre on display, based on how the pandemic and its constraints had shaped the participants' practice in terms of scale and the process of art making


    Make-shift workspace: Ingenious outcomes

    The pandemic has confined several participants primarily to their bedrooms, and yet they learned to convert their living area as their make-shift workspace. The limitations of the physical place thus manifest into the smaller-scaled works in many instances.

    Bhagyashri Dange uses leftover small pieces of wood from a furniture factory and reassembled them in various ways, further to paint impressionistic landscapes on their surfaces with thick impastos. A series of cyanotype on wood depicting wooden furniture captured from different angles is also on display.

    Sourav Bera explored the medium of collage and digital collage to express his personal and the predominant shared public anxiety.

    Sreelakshmi KS, in confinement to her bedroom cum studio, uses small wooden roundels and meticulously painted a series of expressive human and animal eyes on them to capture how universally the eyes speak on behalf of the soul.

    Unlike others, Sun-Robin, moved through different cities, and his sketchbook becomes the locale of creativity. Around the campus, Sun-Robin captures the local flora-fauna in all its ordinariness and produces a series of captivating visuals in watercolours that also includes his fleeting inner thoughts on the paper.

    Surajit Mudi's interdisciplinary practice involves the photo development process. Surajit ingeniously converted the space under his bed into a dark room to develop images from his photo archive. He also explored an alternative 19th-century photo-printing process called Charcoal Casting.

    Sushmita Man captures her confined life during the pandemic through a series of illustrations chronicling her daily routine in the hostel campus as a visual journal.


    On the other hand, Suvankar Mondal has converted an old mud hut into a functional ceramic studio. He also built a primitive kiln, and the 'pit fire' process provided dark pigmentation in the burned clay pots.

    As the pandemic shows how people yearn for home, Vidhi Jangra explores the idea of 'home' in 'Ghar Chaupad'. She uses an old mat, rope and scrap yarn to execute the primitive version of today's indoor game Ludo, where reaching the central square, literally known as Ghar or home, wins the game.

    Samima Sultana, in confinement to her rented room, experimenting with different textures, introduces organic forms as patterned motifs in her Kalamkari and Tapestry works.

    Sanchit Joshi explores an inquiry 'why do we discard something?' by using discarded fabrics in a combination of one another to formulate new meaning while maintaining the original forms of the fabrics as they were being found.


    Provisional Studio: Innovation at play

    The improvised workspace also challenges the participants to think outside the box and act innovatively regarding their predominant art making process.

    Ritwika Ganguly, has produced two short stop-motion animation clips using traditional techniques. 'A lazy afternoon' shows her mundane moments at home, captured using pen and ink. The second animation, 'The Picnic's Dream', depicts a dream-like scenario of Kala Bhavana picnics. Hand-drawn frames are juxtaposed with black and white images of old picnics to create a dialogue between the artist, her representation in drawings, and the olden times' photographs.

    Maya Mima has explored the medium of embroidery in her tiny room. Her works consist of patchworks and figurative stitch-works done on quilts, based on her childhood memories. In another painting series, the cityscape in its all mundaneness is captured in fragments as seen from her terrace.

    Rishma Mariya Johnson's bedroom cum make-shift studio becomes alive with her emotive doodles of a surreal artistic world on the walls, painted in bright colours, expressing a childlike spontaneity.

    On the other hand, Skarma Sonam Tashi couldn't return to his hometown and was confined to his hostel room. He creates imageries of his hometown on the rippling surface of egg trays that evoke a sense of his mountainous state.


    Collective minds: Collaborative process

    'Make-Shift Studio' also exhibits two student collectives and their shared projects.

    Atmasanjog, an interdepartmental collective of three students, engaged with the adjacent village community and brought forth a collaborative project beyond the traditional media and medium. In one work set (titled, KutumKatum), mundane organic elements of rural life such as uprooted bamboo roots, fallen branches and cow dung are recontextualised to create new meanings. In another work, an outer wall of a house and a dilapidated wall become the backdrop for murals done in earthly hues of red and white.

    Another art collective of nine students, Uthon, explores how collaborative projects can be developed inside and outside the institutional periphery. In a performative project, 'An event-based mapping', the collective explores interconnectivity between 'body' and 'home' in the context of colonial architecture. The group traced a plan of their chosen edifice on land upon which they performed a written script they developed.

    It is interesting to observe how a workspace influences the psyche of an artist and left marks directly or indirectly in their works. At the bottom of each page of the artists, the artists had to answer a common question: 'What are you going to take forward from this make-shift studio practice experience?', presumably by the curators. This emphasises how the exhibition is envisioned by putting the same value on the exhibiting artworks and the 'Make-Shift' studios. Furthermore, the website's design language helped the show demonstrate its nuances: the location of the artists and their provisional workspace, as well as the innovative display format. The coordinator's note mentioned that they would feel successful if they could actualise the show. I believe the show's success rests on how realistically the makers managed to reciprocate the critical vision of the show through a digital platform.




    Rahul Majumder is an Art History major from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (2017) and completed his graduation in History of Art from Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati (2015). He has contributed as an editorial assistant for a forthcoming centenary volume on Kala Bhavana to be published by Lalit Kala Akademi and an Art History research associate for an archival research project (INTACH) on the tangible heritage spaces between Satna to Panna. His research articles has been published in reputed journals like Kalakalpa, Art & Deal and Academic Discourse. Rahul is currently pursuing PhD at Visva Bharati. His Doctoral Thesis focuses on the study of the performative pictorial tradition of Santhal Patachitra in eastern India.


  • ‘In Search of Home: 1939 – 2021(Present) Part II – Loss of Memory in Present Time’ | New Delhi, India 

    New Dehli-based artist Vikrant Kano presents a long-term, multi-faceted project that he has been working on since 2018.  His intention is to seek an understanding of the idea of home through his family history and personal archive across three generations, dating back to the Partition of India. Given the scope and expanse of Vikrant’s body of work, EAS is publishing excerpts in two parts.  Part I: (published last week) introduces the project and delves into gathering memories. Part II, presented here, is about the loss of memory in present times, concluding with the a provocative question: Is it necessary to crush or destroy things in order to move towards the future?




    This work is an inquiry into understanding the right to one's own space, and its broader relationship with myself as a citizen of a state. The relationship between the history of the self vis-a-vis the space one occupies with the state and national politics is delved into through this investigative work.

    'The Demolition Process' | Investigation based analytical mapping | application papers (8x12 Inch), refugee certificate of my grandfather (8 X 13 Inch), variable drawing, text (5x7 Inch), photographs (8X11inch), sketchbooks, video, objects, red brick (12x4X2 inch), small light box (17.5 X 14 X 2.5 inch) | 2018



    I documented a part of my house that was demolished by the Railway Government. Photo-journalistic in approach, this investigation into excavated materials has been disclosed through metaphorical as well as literal forms. Here, the explored material has been analytically mapped in which archival letters, official documents, papers,certificates, drawings, photographs, video, and objects have been used.


    Storytellers Workshop - Zine Making Module

    A zine made as part of a storytellers workshop became an effective tool in taking my stories, inquiry, material found from family archives, drawings, photographs, etc. to the masses. The idea was to communicate how I am looking at partition, migration and displacement in the present socio-political scenario--thus questioning the sacrosanct nature of information passed on to us as knowledge, new history, etc.

    Zine | ZINE | 5’’ x 7’’ | 2018

    Click the top right arrow to open pdf in a new tab

    Zine (Detailed images) | ZINE | 5’’ x 7’’ | 2018



    These graph paper drawings are an extension of my inquiry into the notion of ‘loss of memory in present time’. The drawings explore the planned structure and space created by human imprints in their day-to-day existence in the urban scenario. Geometric in nature, they hardly reveal any trace of human life and error.

    A few images from 'Loss of Memory in Present Time' | Pencil on graph paper | 9.5 X 7.5 inch | 2019-2020


    Dream - Brick and Clay Mix 

    This photographic performance unearths the home as a space of seeing, contemplating and facing the demolition of its physical reality when exposed to the workings of the state-machinery. The space that I inhabit in this performance is on the grounds of the rubble of a home that was built by my grandparents in the post-partition period. Built from sand and bricks without the binding element of cement, the home stood on government-owned land. As a result, the relevance of a ‘home-memory’, a ‘memory-home’, the narratives collected, and the challenges faced by my family post-Partition were not relegated to the background but were even more threatened through the possibility of complete erasure. All that remained then was my vision—blotted by the interiors of an imagined home—unbroken, small yet existing in its form and fervor to create a yearning for a personal future.

    'Dream -Brick and clay mix') | 12’’ x 18'' | Photograph-based performance (PC- Karan Kanojia) | 2018



    (This project is currently in progress)

    This work was developed during a "Next Step Residency" 2019 at 1Shanthiroad supported by the Sher-Gill Sundaram Art Foundation. I am responding here to architect Otto Königsberger’s idea of prefabricated homes for refugees.The architect was appointed in October 1948 by Jawaharlal Nehru to tackle the severe housing shortage due to an increase in the number of refugees following the Partition; however, the project did not get implemented. Prior to this, the architect had built a number of tropical structures in Bangalore and Mysore. I encountered one such structure—the Krishna Rao Pavilion at the Krishna Rao Park in Bangalore—from where I began researching this topic as a case study. Through this study, I attempt to reimagine the idea of the prefabricated home using modern materials.

    Click the top right arrow to open pdf in a new tab



    This work traverses through Otto H. Königsberger’s architectural attempts (specifically in Bangalore), and how they have transformed through the years until the present moment. Through drawings, texts, images and a light-box, a mapping of his inputs and attempts in India have been made to reveal his efforts in introducing the idea of prefabricated homes, and the failures of which create another dent in the history of refugees in India. The entry into this history takes place through my family history of the Partition, the migration and displacement which took place, and what is invoked when the need for a home is not met.

    Otto H. Königsberger work (Prefabricated House Project) | Rice paper, OHP sheet photograph, pencil text, drawing on paper and wall, iron rod frame (50cm x50cmx50cm), iron box (16x16x8 inch), ACC block (8x8x4 inch), graph paper (58x58cm) and water | Sizes vary | 2019
    Otto H. Königsberger work (Prefabricated House Project) | Rice paper, OHP sheet photograph, pencil text, drawing on paper and wall, iron rod frame (50cm x50cmx50cm), iron box (16x16x8 inch), ACC block (8x8x4 inch), graph paper (58x58cm) and water | Sizees vary | 2019
    'A Floating Land' | Iron rod frame (50cm x50cmx50cm), iron box (16x16x8 inch), ACC block (8x8x4 inch), graph paper (58x58cm) and water | Sizes vary | 2019

    A Floating Land

    The mapping of Otto H. Königsberger’s works in India introduced me to the relationship between cement and modernity in India. An upgraded version of cement ACC Block became the provocation for inviting poetic interpretations through architectural methods.This sculpture, which incorporates a lightweight cement block floating on water, is placed inside an iron rod cubic structure sitting on a graph paper, probing questions (once it is put up) with the works that surround it.

    'A Floating Land' | Iron rod frame (50cm x50cmx50cm), iron box (16x16x8 inch), ACC block (8x8x4 inch), graph paper (58x58cm) and water | Sizes vary | 2019

    This body of work is a larger project based on the architect’s idea of prefabricated homes for refugees. The architect was appointed in October 1948 by Jawaharlal Nehru to tackle the severe housing shortage due to the increase in refugees following the partition; however, the project did not get implemented.

    'Dream Home' | Wooden table and chair, white paper sheet, 3D model home (making process), pencil, pen, eraser, scissors, scale graph paper | Sizes Vary | 2019


    Dream Home

    This interactive process with origami asks the viewers to engage in a ‘Dream Home’ project by inviting them to draw their own rendition of a home into a 3D model based on every migrant’s concern of ‘How will one imagine one’s home if one has to migrate into the Future?’ By stitching the idea of ‘home’ to every individual’s dream home, this activity creates the feeling of a mohalla [the Hindu word for community].



    This body of work uses family archive photo albums and oral narrative accounts as witnesses and simultaneously presents parallel local histories. This parallel is associated with Bungalow No. 4, State Entry Road - the narratives of the prevailing servant culture, VIP culture and prime location land. These colonial and post-colonial oral narratives have been forming and simultaneously changing, after which this bungalow will eventually cease to exist.

    Is it necessary to crush or destroy things in order to move towards the future?

    Un(told) | Ink and photograph on paper | 8.5” X 11” | 2020
    Un(told) | Ink and photograph on paper | 8.5” X 11” | 2020




    Vikrant Kano is an artist who is from Delhi. He completed his BFA (2016) and MFA (2018) from College of Art, New Delhi. Vikrant’s art practice centers around the ‘‘idea of home’’ through the investigation of his family history & archives. His exploration in mediums is varied, ranging from drawing, painting to photography, videography, etc. Vikrant’s practice explores erasure, migration, separation, human relationship with architecture and memory.  He has participated in various exhibitions around the world that include: Call to Disorder: Experiments in Practice and Research, curated by vidya Shivadas at the Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa; Castelnuovo Fotografia /seventh edition held in the castle of Rocca Colonna in Porto, Rome; and Brief Parables of Dystopia at MOMus:Museum of Contemporary Art, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and the State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections held in Thessaloniki, Greece 2019.



  • ‘In Search of Home: 1939 – 2021(Present) Part I – Gathering of Memories’ | New Delhi, India

    New Dehli-based artist Vikrant Kano presents a long-term, multi-faceted, and deeply researched project that he has worked on since 2018. His intention is to seek an understanding of the idea of home through his family history and personal archive across three generations, dating back to the Partition of India¹.


    Given the scope and expanse of Vikrant’s body of work, EAS is publishing excerpts in two parts. Part I: introduces the project and delves into gathering memories and Part II (to be published next week) is about the loss of memory in present times.  



    Long hours involved in distinct inquiry processes and practice in the studio during my master’s program engulfed me to an extent where a distance developed between myself and my home. This distance slowly morphed into a relationship of an altered association with my home and family members. This further led to an attempt at tracing my roots by examining the physical and psychological aspects of what we understand as “home”. Initial analysis enabled me to find new strands and helped me to trace the journey, from memories and oral histories of the family members to the event of Partition which caused multiple displacements.

    Stitching strands together by delving into the alternate histories surrounding me, I discovered my family was no different than many other migrants living in Delhi. The displaced and forced-into-migration nature and physical structure of home is yet again being evoked with my father’s retirement, causing us to leave our present residence of over 70 years, a space which has seen the experiences of three generations.

    I am interested in listening to, and recording the narratives of markets, local residents, the architecture of spaces—physical and in our mind— which inhabit the word ‘home.’ My work maps archives as a realm of art practice and is assisted by certain anthropological methods. I’m trying to tread the borders of its past, present and future while living through it. My practice grows close to the aspect of the private /personal narrative of a family processed through a conversation with ideas of displacement, relocation, erasure and migration. The intention of my body of work is to provoke thoughts on two main questions:  What makes an existence of a home? and What does it mean to have a home? 



    My works build from historical documentation of my familial history. The linking piece between the past and the present is my father who acts as a “bridge” between the two other generations of my family (my grandparents and myself). My grandfather was born in Brahma Rangoon, Burma. From Brahma Rangoon, he moved to Lahore where he was then employed in the British Army.

    British Army ID card of my grandfather | Photograph from family archive | 1939


    Before Partition


    My work follows my family’s path of relocation and displacement; an almost perpetual and physical state of being in transit. I follow an archival process, where I trace the footsteps of my paternal family through 'physical' objects. It is a process of attaching and linking a sentimental chain of memories to our present through these physical entitie to stress the ethereal and ephemeral qualities of the human experience and memory.

    Life before Partition | Photograph from family archive | 1942-1946


    During Partition


    The photographs that I have collected here are representative of violence, struggle, and necessity. India's partition resulted in mass migration which often turned violent. People were asked to leave their ancestral houses and migrate to another land overnight with complete uncertainty of their future experiencing a state of forced 'homelessness'. The photograph of padlocks holds the strong symbolism of home, uncertainty, and loss. When the riots of the Partition broke out, my uncle and his daughter caught a train going to Attari, a small village in India's Punjab. Pulled down from the train by a mob of violent insurrectionists, they were forced to hide among corpses before they finally made it to the Attari station and then, Delhi.

    Photographs from family archive | 2018
    Family relatives from Lahore | Photograph from family archive | 1947-1960


    Post Partition at Bungalow no.4, State Entry Road

    Bungalows on the State Entry Road near Connaught Place, New Delhi were built between 1924-1930. Post partition, the bungalow no. 4 was where my family found work and a 'home' and in the servant quarters. It has been 74 years that my family has been living here. After my father's retirement in 2021, we will have to leave the residence. The displaced and forced-into-migration nature of our societal structure is further reinstated by my father’s retirement. Through my journey, I also realized that my family is no different from other migrants living in Delhi or other parts of India. This led me to examine the physical and psychological aspects of what we understand as a “home”. My work represents an almost perpetual state of multiple displacements, and its foreseen becoming.

    Bungalow no.4 | Photograph from family archive | 2020



    'Journey From Pakistan To India and Some Memories' | Sketchbook | 5.5’’x 8.5” | 2018

    Developing conversations with my father through drawings and recordings became an exercise that aided me to create an archive by tapping into his journey and memory. This discipline of a sketchbook exercise helped me in excavating multiple memories from the histories surrounding these conversations. The material produced during this process include text and drawing-based imprints of oral historical accounts of his life. The collection of material in a diary-format shows a sense of progression through three parts (not necessarily chronological), where each part plays a significant role. This collection of information is an attempt to bridge the gap amongst the three generations—an attempt at building understandings and relationships anew.

    'Memory Sharing' audio based painting activity (visual transcription) | Acrylic on canvas and audio | 6ft x 4ft | 2018

    This work is a performative experiment which focuses on exploring the various dynamics of audio and its potential relationship with painting. By amalgamating both mediums, I tried exploring the idea of transcribing audio text into painting, in which audio is experienced through a visual form and then transformed on surface. The body and its external layers, as it exists in the past and the present, is being understood during the construction of a dialogue between me and my father, between the audio and the visual and finally translated to narrate a memory.




    'Re-thinking, What is home?' | Investigative Mapping | Variable (3D)Objects, A6 ink drawings, A5 mixed media drawing, 10’’x 12’’ (4 landscape), wooden home structure 8’’ X 6’’ X 10’’,drawing on white paper 42’’ X 5’’ field notes A4 size, 8 no.size footprint p.o.p cast, red brick 12’’x 4’’X 2’’) | 2018

    An experience is an encounter, the impressions of which are difficult to hold onto for a long time. Is there a possibility that this can be transformed into a physical form? Re-thinking and excavating ‘What is home?’ is an attempt to think, visualise and understand ‘home’ in today’s time by tracing the material and experience-based personal history of the home. It uses different approaches to trace the surroundings of this space, and the relationship of the structure with the three generations that inhabited it.




    The process of approaching this question has been broadly explored in three parts: information-based, excavation-based and experience-based. These segments explore the physical transformation of a structure, which is being referred to as a personal space called ‘Home’. On this note, these three works focus on exploring the journey of home by raising an inquiry about the life of this home. The inquiry takes shape in the form of these questions:


    How were you and how are you now?

    This work is an information-based documentation being developed through a nostalgic lens. This is done by overlapping three different mediums; photographs, conversation-based text and drawings. It includes four photographs of our house from 1950 and three black & white photographs from 2018. A conversation with my father about these photographs helped me comprehend the local and migration-centred vocabulary as depicted in the abstract narrative. This communication was later explored by drawing certain parts of the physical structure of home, which has transformed with time.

    'Curtain from home courtyard' | Marking cloth, stitched drawing, photographs, rice paper | 7.5 feet x 4.5 feet | 2019

    Who surrounds your home?  

    Geographical Mapping / Courtyard Movement (Natural and Forced)

    In this work, change in nature through time and movement has been explored in the space of the courtyard. When we constantly encounter a space, how much are we actually able to ‘see’? To what extent can we change that space/place? This work started with an observation-based note-making process spanning one month. After that, this small notebook was further developed into this courtyard-based curtain work, rendered in mixed media.


    'Journey of Home' | Video still

    What was the journey of the home (1947 to now)?

    The journey of this structure from a ‘house to a ‘home’ has been shown in this work through the past 70 years. Like a memory-provoking device, the artwork attempts to engage with any viewer. The work combines the changes that have taken place in the architecture alongside the connections it has with the generations of people living in it.




    This is a site-specific work which has been displayed through video and photographic documentation in an exhibition space. The work has explored the relationship between my childhood experience of the space with that of my father's over the years.  Reflections through conversations and the display act as the point of convergence. Engraving with nails on the brick exhibit the urge to communicate the significance of traces left behind in time and space.

    'Conversation with Surroundings | Video and Photograph | Size variable | 2018




    This work is based on a series of conversations between myself and my father, which I have tried to communicate through explorations in drawings. It depicts my father's recollections and experience of the courtyard of his house from when he was a child. After attempting to understand the house through his memories, I began looking at the same space through different materials; this led to the juxtaposition of my own understanding of the space with that of my father. This overlapping maps the evolution of the space as experienced by the two generations that inhabited it in the span of 70 years. The work also attempts to display a process undertaken to fill the gaps that otherwise are lost in translation.

    'Conversation with Father' | Drawing on paper | 5"x21" (triptych) | 1961
    'Conversation with my Father' | 1.8 ft X 8.5 ft | 2018
    'Conversation with Father' | Photograph (panorama) | 25"x112” | 2020




    The visuals of the letters in any language reveal a secret code—as if forming a new ‘language’ altogether. My grandmother created such a code that was similar to the letters of the English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu alphabet, as well as Mathematics, and used this to keep a record of the clothes in the laundry from 1947 to 1998. Through an interview with a neighbour, the mark-making practice of my grandmother revealed itself through a new lens. The surprising aspect was that, in reality, she had no knowledge of these languages and her ‘language’ was one that nobody in the neighborhood or family could understand. This script seems to have been forming and simultaneously destroying the notion of language itself, as normatively understood. This body of work is a response to my grandmother's secret mark-marking language as well as an attempt at drawing parallel connections with the forms of my own art practice.

    'Lost in Translation' | Mix media on paper | 5"X7" (20sheet) 24’’X30’' | 2020
    'Lost in Translation' | Mix media on paper | 5"X7" (20sheet) 24’’X30’' | 2020

    ¹ In 1947, shortly after the independence from British rule, India separated into two independent countries: India and Pakistan. This separation involved in particular the states of Punjab (on the NorthWest of India) and Bengal (on the East), and saw the exodus of the Hindu population to India and of the Muslim population to Pakistan. Millions of people, threatened by this division along religious lines, were forced to move from their homes and lost everything.



    Vikrant Kano is an artist who is from Delhi. He completed his BFA (2016) and MFA (2018) from College of Art, New Delhi. Vikrant’s art practice centers around the ‘‘idea of home’’ through the investigation of his family history & archives. His exploration in mediums is varied, ranging from drawing, painting to photography, videography, etc. Vikrant’s practice explores erasure, migration, separation, human relationship with architecture and memory.  He has participated in various exhibitions around the world that include: Call to Disorder: Experiments in Practice and Research, curated by vidya Shivadas at the Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa; Castelnuovo Fotografia /seventh edition held in the castle of Rocca Colonna in Porto, Rome; and Brief Parables of Dystopia at MOMus:Museum of Contemporary Art, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and the State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections held in Thessaloniki, Greece 2019. 


    MORE FROM VIKRANT KANO:  Part II - Loss of Memory in Present Time 

  • ‘Synesthetic Fusion, Intersection and Overlap’  | Cape Town, South Africa

    South African-based artist and drummer Caitlin Mkhasible is interested in experimenting with and creating mixed-media artworks across the terrains of visual arts, sound and music improvisation. She is inspired by synesthetic connections--an involuntary joining in which the information received from one sense is accompanied by a perception in another sense.

    Emergent Art Space recently published an article about Caitlin’s participation in the online symposium 'Synesthesia in Africa: Discovery, Awareness, Research, and Outreach' that featured some of her artwork in its Synesthesia Exhibition. Here Caitlin shares compelling images and details about her unique body of work sparked by synesthetic conjunctions.


    My artworks featured at the symposium included images that interpreted the intersection of sight and sound using abstract mark-making. They are clear examples of the subjective way I translated sound into monochromatic fragments, creating a texture and light-based visual language for sound.  Here I also share images as examples of how visuals can act as a simulation for sound, using mixed media and photography.

    'Drum Moon I'



    Drum Moon I (2020) was created using ink and acrylic on two old, Remo drumheads that I played on. I have been playing on a third-hand, typical, five-piece drum kit since I was 14 years old and find my artworks mimic the circular shape of the drums. I also use found objects as additional percussive elements. I play in an audio-visual ensemble called, Morning Pages. This piece serves as a fusion of my interests in art and experimental, improvised music.





    Drum Squares (2016) depicts dipped drumsticks and fingers in ink, or charcoal sticks used as drum sticks, to play various drum patterns and percussive techniques onto squares of paper to create a visual catalogue of drumming samples. These methods of playing are translated forms of extended techniques in drumming: atypical methods of playing that can create additional layers of texture, furthering the capabilities of an instrument in an unusual and interesting way.

    'Drum Squares'
    'They Use Sound to Hurt Us'






    They Use Sound to Hurt Us (2016) is about sound canons used by police force to disperse crowds of protesters by using extremely high and low frequencies to cause nausea and blurred vision. It has been flagged as brutal due to its potential of causing permanent hearing damage.






    'Sub Hum' Artworks
    'Sub Hum' Projection

    Sonar and Whale Spine are 2 of 9 illustrations from the series, ‘And then there was a Subterraneous Hum’ (2015). The series explored how noise pollution affected marine mammals’ ability to echolocate due to ship engines, sonar, seismic blasts for mining and natural sounds, such as earthquakes. Whales have been known to beach themselves because of the amount of noise experienced because noise pollution makes it difficult for them to echolocate their migratory paths, food or each other. The series’ monochromatic visual style emulates spectrograms and sonar. This series was part of an interactive sound installation where the viewer could sing to an imagined whale and it would sing back.

    Left: 'Whale' | 'Whale Spine'
    'Whale Spine' (Video still)

    Installation view: Trapcode Form projection of my animated illustration, Whale Spine (2015). I used found medical illustrations of whale bones before editing them to look similar to black and white spectrographs. Whales feel sound through a membrane in their lower jawbone. I chose to use spine bones because that is what usually stands out the most for me at museums. This projection was displayed at my final exam exhibition at Michaelis (School of Fine Art in Cape Town). The projection is in front of the interactive sound piece where the viewer could sing to a whale and it would sing back. Special thanks to helo samo, Matthew Jones and Moeneeb Dalwai.


    This artwork used cymatics technique to display the lowest frequency hearing range of various animals. I placed water within a dish over a sub-woofer and allowed the vibrations to transition 10Hz – 100Hz, then 100Hz – 10Hz. The representation of the different animals’ hearing abilities alerts us to unnoticed, organic and delicate modes of communication other than speaking a language or utilizing the internet. This mode is translated to our physical understanding of it: light, visual texture and vibration - making the invisible visible and hopefully, more appreciated.

    'Lowest Frequency'

    Lowest Frequency Hearing Range projected at ‘Bring Your Own Beamer’ (2014) group exhibition at Bundyn+ gallery in Cape Town. This artwork was also exhibited as part of Emergent Art Space’s ‘Translations’ online exhibition in 2014 and ‘Translations’ (2015) at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre, ICCR, Kolkata, curated by EAS and Samindranath Majumdar.

    2nd year installation
    Jazz Workshop

    Projection (piano image) of augmented reality project documenting a music school, the Jazz Workshop, in Cape Town where I learned drums while at university. The music school was documented pending an eviction of the tenants from a heritage building that they were based in near the CBD. I went to each room and documented every teacher playing the instrument they taught. The final work depicted the empty room without the students and teachers - just their instruments. If you used an iPad over each image, the iPad would play music that would be heard in a specific room when occupied by the people who work there every day. A mock-up CD cover with a CD containing the sounds recorded was placed on a plinth next to the exhibition. I used photography for this project but was still interested in a monochromatic visual style.


    Diptych projection documented abstract and sub-conscious interpretations of sound with visuals from everyday life that I filmed (the bus commute, power cuts, the inside of a bass drum and so on).

    Untitled I - IV

    Untitled 2nd-year project (2013) at Michaelis using long exposure photographs of light as the interpretation of outside sound traveling in the window and vibrating in the attic of a student house I stayed in while studying.

    Film photograph (left) by Charl Fourie | @kameragraaf




    In 2015, Caitlin Mkhasibe graduated with a BFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. She is a Cape Town based multi-media artist and drummer (Morning Pages) who uses abstract mark-making to mimic texture and sound. Mkhasibe’s interests include ecology and outer space. 



  • Proyecto ‘Pasteup’ de Pablo Robleda | Rosario, Argentina

    El pintor argentino Pablo Robleda, conocido por sus pinturas formales en acrílico sobre madera y murales de pared a diferentes escalas, comenzó a experimentar con técnicas de 'pasteup' cuando perdió el acceso a su estudio a raíz de un horrible ataque homofóbico. Se vio obligado a trasladarse a través de un programa de protección de víctimas/testigos por su seguridad. Su reubicación en una serie de pequeños espacios de vida lo llevó a una recalibración de su práctica artística, utilizando herramientas simples, materiales y estrategias de pegado. Pablo comparte su historia, e imágenes de las obras de arte resultantes y el trabajo en proceso de este cuerpo de trabajo en curso.

    Un ataque homofóbico contra mi pareja y yo nos llevó a la reubicación a través de un programa de protección de víctimas y testigos desde agosto de 2020 hasta enero de 2021, lo que me imposibilitó el acceso y el trabajo en mi estudio. Esta situación me inspiró a abordar un proyecto que me permitió seguir pintando y, al mismo tiempo, probar un enfoque más directo, urbano, colaborativo, efímero con los pasteups. Dada la limitación de herramientas y espacio, descubrí la técnica de pasteup, que solo necesitaba herramientas pequeñas y livianas, y materiales más baratos. Empecé a utilizar el proceso de pegado, proyectando y produciendo así el "Proyecto #Pasteup I", dividido en dos etapas de producción. Para dejar una huella urbana, pegué las obras terminadas en la zona de mi ciudad natal y barrio y en las paredes de los lugares a los que solía ir cuando era niño, mi escuela primaria, el club, etc.

    La primera etapa: diez dibujos basados en mis diseños, realizados con acrílico sobre papeles de alta calidad, libres de ácido y de alta resistencia, pegados en diferentes paredes y espacios urbanos de mi ciudad (Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina) durante dos meses. La tirada de la segunda etapa se pegará en los próximos meses. Sorprendentemente, poco después de hacer las primeras pegatinas, las fotografías de mi #pasteup comenzaron a viralizarse en Internet, dándome retroalimentación no solo sobre los buenos resultados, sino sobre la necesidad urbana de arte en las calles.

    Ahora he vuelto a un estudio y a mi forma tradicional de trabajar con los materiales y dimensiones que usaba antes. Sin embargo, el proyecto #Pasteup todavía está en progreso y sigo trabajando con esta técnica cómoda y económica fuera del estudio. Mi idea es extender el proyecto haciendo más y más pegados, pegándolos en el nuevo barrio donde vivo ahora.



    Pablo Robleda (Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina) es pintor desde 2010. Se especializa en pintura acrílica sobre madera y murales en diferentes tamaños (desde 10cm x 12cm hasta 3m x 2m). Ha estado en exposiciones individuales y colectivas por toda la ciudad. Sus pinturas y dibujos se encuentran en colecciones privadas y han sido exhibidos en una Universidad del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires en la ciudad de Tandil y en las oficinas de la Secretaría de Cultura de la Provincia de La Rioja, entre otras sedes. Actualmente está trabajando en un tríptico basado en ciertas ideas de forma, color y estructuras imposibles. Se pueden encontrar reproducciones de sus pinturas en:  https://www.tumblr.com/blog/pablorobleda/



  • Project ‘Pasteup’ by Pablo Robleda | Rosario, Argentina

    Argentine painter, Pablo Robleda known for his formal acrylic paintings on wood and wall murals at different scales, began experimenting with pasteup techniques when he lost access to his studio in the aftermath of a horrific homophobic attack.  He was forced to relocate through a victim/witness protection program for his safety.  His relocation into a series of small living spaces led to a recalibration of his art practice, using simple tools, materials and pasteup strategies.  Palbo shares his story, including images of the resulting artworks and in-process work from this body of ongoing work.

    A homophobic attack on my partner and I, led to relocation through a victim and witness protection program from August 2020 to January 2021, making it impossible for me to access and work in my studio.  This situation inspired me to tackle a project that enabled me to continue painting and, at the same time, test a more direct, urban, collaborative, ephemeral approach with pasteups. Given the limitation of tools and space, I discovered the pasteup technique, needing only small, lightweight tools and cheaper materials. I began using the pasteup process, projecting and thus producing "#Pasteup I Project", divided into two stages of production. To leave an urban imprint, I pasted the finished works in the area of ​​my hometown and neighborhood and on walls of places that I used to go to when I was a child, my elementary school, the club, etc.

    The first stage: ten drawings based on my designs, made with acrylic on high-quality, acid-free, and highly resistant papers, pasted on different walls and urban spaces in my city (Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina) over two months.  The second stage print run will be pasted in the coming months. Surprisingly, shortly after making the first stickers, photographs of my #pasteup began to go viral on the internet, giving me feedback not only on good results, but on the urban need for art in the streets.

    I have now returned to a studio and my traditional way of working with the materials and dimensions that I used before.  However, the #Pasteup Project is still in progress and I continue to work with this comfortable and inexpensive technique outside of the studio. My idea is to extend the project by making more and larger pasteups, sticking them up in the new neighborhood where I am now living.

    ¹ Pasteup is a composition on a sheet of paper, board, or other backing applied to a wall or object using wheatpaste. This technique allows street artists to put up detailed images quickly.



    Pablo Robleda (Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina) has been a painter since 2010.  He specializes in acrylic paint on wood and wall murals in different sizes (from 10cm x 12cm to 3m x 2m). He has been in solo and group exhibitions throughout the city. His paintings and drawings are in private collections and have been exhibited at a university in the center of the province of Buenos Aires in the city of Tandil and at the Secretary of Culture offices in the Province of La Rioja, among other locations.  He is currently working on a triptych based on certain ideas of form, color and impossible structures. Reproductions of his paintings can be found at  https://www.tumblr.com/blog/pablorobleda/



  • ‘Social Amalgamations – realistic, metaphorical and surreal’ | Kolkata, West Bengal, India

    Kolkata-based artist, Samiran Day, shares his fantastical artwork and talks about the ideas, characteristic forms, and the thought process that make up his art practice.

    'Daily Entertainment' | Pen and ink on paper
    Untitled | Pen and ink on paper

    I acquire my artistic thoughts mainly from my surrounding environment which involves the place where I was born and live.  Society’s atmosphere, sensation, idiomatic expressions, political, economic and corporal realities resonate and have enchanted me from early childhood to the present day.

    Humans are the most innovative creation of this world, whose fusion of pleasure, contentment, agony and anxiety is sometimes concealed and sometimes reflected in the narrow passages and highways of the city. I try to bring a rhythmic sensation to represent the daily struggles of commoners, their issues and perspectives.  These realistic and metaphoric forms reside on my canvas.

    'Essence of Life' | Pen and ink on paper

    I have walked along paths of indigence, flown in the sky of liberation, and have surrendered myself with anxiety when all ideas have collapsed. The unscrupulous society, and its yell of fear, has a great impact on me.

    'Wounded Apple' | Pen and ink on paper

    The constructed world, with its high rising buildings, has always filled me with anxiety so deeply that I dream of a search for light. This socio-metaphorical reality, with its enchanting and surrealistic behaviour, are reflected on my canvas. I believe that artists’ self-realization and thinking is deliberately emulated in their artworks. My ongoing art practice has a great resonance with my thoughts, characterized by my self-realization that sometimes is charged with surrealistic thinking.

    I began working in pen and ink due to a shortage of art materials.  I found that stories began to flow through my pen, mostly in black and white.  I use black to represent the ultimate darkness in a person’s life, whereas white brings hope to the character--showing a light, a way out.  These journeys of existence motivate me.  In my ongoing art practice, I am experimenting with different mediums with the aim of bringing more elegance and transparency to my creations.

    Imagination, childhood memories and perception are the main theme of my artwork.  My family and their contrasting lives, from behaviour, daily routines and realities to beliefs, afflictions, friendships and emotions, as well as their green eyes, has always been echoed through my works.

    'Reflections' | Pen and ink on paper
    'The Ray of Darkness' | Pen and ink on paper

    Art, to me, is my inner truth.  Artists are mostly self-obsessed, grasping with their own thoughts physically and metaphorically, signifying their presence through artists strokes. I too have made these alluring gestures on my heavenly journey. Many-a-time, I have preferred my emotions over the inhuman reality which has its presence on my canvas with metaphoric or surrealistic character. I also think that social barriers, with their limitations, is another vision echoing in artistic practice. Uniting the blend of natural beauty and an artist’s eternal verities amalgamates to fulfill an artwork.

    'Inconsistency' | Pen and ink on paper



    About the Artist

    Kolkata-based artist Samiran Dey is an accomplished painter whose work has been exhibited throughout India and included in numerous online international exhibitions. He received Certificates of  Merit in Painting and Photography from the Indian College of Art and Draftmanship, where he earned a BFA in Painting.  He went on to study at Rabindra Bharati University and received an MFA in Painting in 2020.  


  • “Social Expressionism: Discordance, Harmony and Flow ” _________ A solo exhibition by Raka Panda | West Bengal, India

    Emergent Art Space is pleased to present a solo exhibition of young Indian artist Raka Panda, highlighting the evolution and ongoing development of her artwork.


    'Around the Sky' | Mixed media | 48"x65"


    Engaging panoramic scale, this exhibition features works created by Raka Panda in the last several years, interspersed with text from her artist statement. The images presented have been selected to show a range in tempo, perspective, mood, and focus relative to the artist’s interests, observations, and experiences, culminating in the harsh pandemic realities of our current day. 


    Raka Panda’s expressive and emotionally attuned paintings explore human existence through observations of people in the West Bengal region of India where she lives and works. Taken as a whole, these pieces evoke the artist’s symphonically expansive range, with probing and interconnected tableaus of paintings and groupings of smaller works in dialogue with one another. Engaging her art practice and compassionate nature, she seeks to connect with and understand humanity within landscapes of culture and class. With her inquisitive, socio-political narrative eye, she examines commonalities, disparities, challenges, and inequities. She claims to be unraveling her own identity and perspective in the process and her paintings offer viewers an opportunity to do the same.

      Ann Wettrich, EAS Curatorial Team    




    'Around the Sky' | Oil on canvas | 30"x30"
    'Around the Sky II' | Ink and Nepali paper on canvas | 30"x30"




     As an artist, I aim to build a world that is undeniably separate from the one we live in. What fascinates me about any artistic medium is its potential to pull the viewers out of a logical common world and place them in a space that is more alive. I use narrative forms to represent the world, using expressive painterly qualities to provide an alternative perspective.



    'Life Around the Circle' | Oil on canvas | 24" diameter each




    'Intangible City' | Oil on canvas collage | 30"x75"




    My subjects and concepts pull deeper and deeper into the world we live in. I am fascinated with people--their variety of emotions, physical expressions and dispositions, not only expressions of enjoyment but also of struggle, frustration, dislike. My aim is to help the viewers not to overlook disturbing facts. I have faith that empathy and emotion play a significant role in shaping the essence of my paintings.


    The Ahmedabad slums, the daily life around me, the local market, the crowds and the roadside vendors are the subjects that take form on my canvas. Amidst the chaos, smiling faces and mute spirits, every character is unfolding their story quietly even though they are surrounded by noise.


    'Morsels from their Lives' | Oil, ink and Nepali paper on canvas collage | 7"x6" each 


    I explore identity and place in the society where I grew up, representing complex realities and focusing on local people with varied ways of living.  My own upbringing was in a middle-class family, residing in a village at the border of the two states of West Bengal and Odisha.


    During the research and photo documentation stages of the process, observing the life around me, I discover faces of people whose eyes I connect with.  Suddenly my attention might switch to a deprived person who has been ignored, or to some reality of social contradictions that haunts me in my daily life and raises my awareness.




    'Bolpur to Santiniketan' | Oil on Canvas | 48"x65"
    'Rapidity' | Oil on canvas | 48"x65"
    'Viewers' | Oil on canvas | 48"x65"
    '3rd Class Compartment' | Oil on canvas | 48"x65"


































    I believe in bringing attention to the unattended. Connecting observations with the canvas, I give concrete form to emotions.  I want my imagery to visually represent the stories of ignored and marginalized sectors of the society, populating unwanted space.



    'Passengers' | Oil on canvas | 36"x36"
    'Story Around the Bus' | Oil on canvas | 60"x48"


    The narrative core of my paintings is inspired by the the work of the Bengali philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, and it aims to connect to humanity, representing socio-political issues, identity crises and the economic burdens at the basic levels of quotidian survival. Observations and interest in people have inspired me to create my visual language.


    'Turning Point' | Oil on canvas | 60"x108"



    Either the whole human figure or only a particular part of a person’s body are depicted on the canvas. My intent is to highlight specific aspects of deprivation, showing people who are silenced and stigmatized by mainstream society. Through my practice, I have deepened my awareness of and relationship to these harsh realities.


    'Our Own World' | Oil on canvas collage | sizes vary




    'Petrichor' | Ink and pen on canvas | 38"x20"
    'Petrichor' | Ink and pen on canvas | 38"x20"


    The works of German Expressionist painters have strongly influenced my work. For this reason my paintings have acquired novel configurations beyond traditional forms of expression, and here I feel my own identity.




    'Life Around the Circle' | Mixed Media on canvas | 24" Diameter
    'Banned Smile' | Mixed media on canvas | 8"x12"
    Untitled | Mixed media on paper | Size A4
    'Red Carpet' | Oil on canvas | 20" x 30"
    'Landscape' | Mixed media on canvas | 36" x 30"


    Focusing on representing individuals, I can harmonize myself with a totality and feel part of it. An existing true being is felt.  I learned during this work that when vision is pure or undisturbed and creation is clear, then ‘real enjoyment’ is attained.




    Raka Panda is based in West Bengal, India where she was born and raised. She received BFA and MFA degrees in Painting from Kala Bhavana (Institute of Fine Arts) at Visva Bharati University (founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore) in Santiniketan, West Bengal.
    Her work has been exhibited widely in India and also has been shown internationally.  Seeking to deepen her creative practice, she has participated in international arts workshops, residencies and fellowship programs.  Most recently she was awarded first prize in the Emergent Art Space’s international online exhibition Calling Across the Distance, adding to a growing list of distinguished awards, grants and scholarships.

    Contact Info
    +91 97357 30990



  • ‘The Many Temporalities of Images’ | Bihar, India

    Sarika Kumari introduces artworks that use "ordinary local objects and materials" to bridge the gap between our everyday natural surroundings and the artificial spaces of the art galleries.


    Mapping the Migration (Jamalpur) | Mixed media installation

    “Nature creates its form according to its needs, art creates its form according  to its own. The image we produce is the self-evident of revelation, real or concrete." (Wassily Kandinsky)

    My works are culture-specific. In other words, through paintings and installations, I try to respond to the layers of history and culture of the place in which I live and work, depending on my momentary shifts. Thus, the selection of objects and images for my works indicate preference for the vernacular culture as a way of creating a site-

    'Proletariat' | Acrylic colour & ash burnt on paper

    relational, sensory-cognitive engagement with a particular place and culture.

    The intention of using ordinary local objects and materials is to reassure the viewer they feel at home in the de-historicized “non-place” of the art galleries. The viewer who encounters my work in a gallery space can relate one’s own everyday experience and memories with them.  A dialogue can therefore begin even before one identifies any of my artworks as consecrated aesthetic objects. Through its use of local and familiar images, objects and materials, the work creates a kind of oscillation between place and non-place, between particular cultural sites and the white cubes of the galleries.

    'Short-Term' | Acrylic colour & ash burnt on paper

    The paintings and installations that I have made over the last few years indicate thinking in progress: the relationship between time and image. I am trying to explore how the “many temporalities” of our visual culture can be allowed to play into the present: the dominant time of modernity.

    'Migration" | Wood ash, burnt charcoal, ceramic clay (Installation)

    I travel from one place to another and in every new place, I try to create works that are deeply linked to the culture and histories of that place.

    “Deconstruction” and “Migration” are words that best suit my works. I want to express my experiences of the shops and their objects on the canvas by relocating and dislocating the subject and its components objectively, defining a narrative of their own and the society as a  whole. That work reveals the details in a layered manner that brings out the theme with outlined subtle characters.

    'Suffocation' | Tea effect, water colour and black permanent pen

    I spent my childhood in the rural area of Bihar.  I moved to Santiniketan, West  Bengal,  to study Fine Arts at Visva Bharati University. I then continued my studies in Art History & Aesthetics in Vadodara, Gujarat.  My art comes from my home, where I grew up as a child, far from the urban culture and lifestyle. All that I gathered around me, as subjects, were makeshift shops in my neighborhood. They fascinated me and helped me to develop my visual language.

    'Surrounding of Imambada' | Acrylic and permanent white marker on canvas

    I am presently experimenting with different materials that can signify the daily objects of impermanence. My present works are completely based on Lucknow. Firstly, I think about a topic, then ruminate on medium and material.

    If you see the works you can feel the colors and vibrations of the nuances of the city of Bihar, along with the people who migrate from one place to another looking to better their lives. This is why a lot of my recent work revolves around migration and on how migrant workers adapt to the culture of the place where they are working and whether they feel accepted in these new places.

    The pandemic has lately shown the brutal side of society in its attitude towards migrant workers. I have been attempting to depict the pain and suffering they have been through.


    About the Artist


    I  spent my childhood in the rural area of Bihar, Jamalpur. I have completed BFA & MFA in  Painting from Kala  Bhavana, Visva  Bharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal, in 2014 & 2016 respectively.  I then moved to Vadodara, Gujarat, where I completed my second Master in Art  History & Aesthetics at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in 2018.


    I am currently a freelance artist and independent art writer with extensive experience and innovative skills. My work revolves around migration and how migrant workers get involved with the culture of the place they are working in and their acceptance. The pandemic has shown the brutal side of society towards the migrant workers. My art has recently been focused on portraying their pain and suffering.







  • ‘The Pusher’ | Lusaka, Zambia

    Multi-faceted artist George Mubanga presents his spectacular, land-based sculptural installation and discusses the inspiration for this large-scale work.

    When I was growing up and ever since, things have been difficult in society.  To survive, one must be strong.

    I give thanks to my mum and sister, who have been my greatest supporters.  When I was low my mum used to say “Be strong.  You have to keep pushing to make ends meet and earn a living from what you do.”  At first, they were just words to me, but with time I came to realize that every person is in charge of their own destiny.  It’s up to you to make the life you want, through the steps that you take now. If you don’t push, nothing moves.

    When meeting more accomplished artists, I found that some were harsh and didn’t take me seriously, but a few encouraged me to keep working hard. With time, my artwork started to receive the respect and love that I never imagined.

    I made ‘The Pusher’ to represent the struggles that everyone goes through in life. It’s never easy to achieve your goals, but with determination, hope and patience all is possible.

    'Self Portrait' | Mixed media on canvas





    George Mubanga is a self taught artist. He finished High School in 2013 and he has an art practice and studio in Lusaka, Zambia. He is a member of the Visual Arts Council and the Art Academy without Walls, both in Lusaka.





  • ‘Sense of Kin’ by Aleksandr Lialiushkin | St. Petersburg, Russia

    Working across the genres of land-art, digital media, found objects and installation, Russian-based artist Aleksandr Lialiushkin discusses his deeply-reflective two-year project (2018-2020). “Sense of Kin” embodies his feelings of personal loss of connection to kin, as the distance grows from his current life in St. Petersburg to the small village where he grew up.


    I'm from the little village of Buturlino in the district of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia. I have a big family; almost all of them live in this village near Nizhny Novgorod. We meet once a year, and I feel we are starting to lose contact.

    'Sense of Kin' Installation | totem poles
    'Holes I' | Digital collage (series)

    The work “Sense of kin” was created in Buturlino. There are three ‘totem poles’ made of wood boards with little holes in them. These boards represent small walls of disconnection in my family, disconnection in other families, and disconnection itself. The holes in the boards are symbols of ‘memory loss’ and feelings of ‘flowing away’ from my family and my sense of kinship.

    'Holes II' | Digital collage (series)

    The digital series “Holes” includes four collages based on my photos taken in Buturlino. Two of them show the courtyard of my grandparent’s house, and the other two are from the maternity hospital where I was born. They have the same ‘hole pattern’ of land-art swapped out between two of the photos. It shows the puzzle -- my ‘curve of losing the memory’.

    Every piece of this project is my personal story. Even wood boards used in the land art were found among the ruins of the old bath. Fearing disconnection from my family, I made an object with the fourth board and brought it with me to St. Petersburg,

    'Holes III' | Digital collage (series)
    'Holes IV' | Digital collage (series)

    This project contains land art, digital collages, and objects.

    'Sense of Kin' 2018

    During the installation of this piece, the rain came.

    Untitled | Digital photograph

    I see my personal story as a sequence of moving from point to point, trying to raise my quality of living. After two years, I returned to “Sense of Kin” in 2020, thinking about my village in Nizhny Novgorod as the first point.

    In the project, a concentrating meditative action faces an anarchic off-system desire to break down everything. I want the audience to see the metaphysic gradient of two opposite points and ask themselves: "Where am I, and who are my kin?".

    'Sense of Kin' 2020




    About the Artist

    Aleksandr Lialiushkin currently resides in St. Petersburg and works with photography, video, installation, fine arts and performance. He graduated from the School of Contemporary Art “Paideia” in 2016. He began to take part in exhibitions with his project “Men and Words” (2014) and “Plastic” (2018) in Millipiani Art Space in Rome.  Nowadays, Aleksandr works with textiles and photography, and he exhibits in St. Petersburg as well as in other countries around  the world. 




  • ‘Journey of the Passer-by’ | New Delhi, India

    Mixed media artist Gopa Roy discusses her recent series concerned with issues of migration in India during times of the pandemic.  Inspired by local landscapes and people, as well as organic materials, her work is propelled by perplexing questions and humanitarian concerns.  

    I usually work with the landscape, creating land art, geographically embracing nature, as well as the people who are involved in it. I am interested in how people live and  perform day-to-day activities within the environment. Thus my ‘Journey of the Passer-by’ is about the toil of the migrant workers residing and earning their  living in different parts of India.

    Today we can see how contagion, spreading from one person to another, has caused a pandemic around the world. This consequential issue and the vulnerability of the current situation is a focus for my work in this series. It emphasizes the migrants’ situation with issues of losing jobs and shelter--fighting for the sustenance of life. They are walking along the roads,  with different means and the aim of finding home, to feel safe. Though they started their  journey with hope and custody of a safe home: Is it still there? Are they going to face more  consequences after they reach their destination? Are more challenges in life waiting for them? These  questions were hammering my mind, and these queries were taken up in this series.

    In my work I have tried to show the journey of the common man through the change of time, space, and land. Therein, this entire process in quarantine leads me to the collection of materials from my  surroundings for use in this work.  I use natural fibres from vegetables, fruits, jute, hay, etc.  I explore different shapes and sizes, initiated and enhanced by my own reflective thoughts. Hence, the shift in physical form came from consideration of the current situation and its profound impact on the lives we are living.

    Artwork Medium: Straw Pulp, Fruits & Vegetables fiber, dry leaf, jute, gi wire ink & watercolor.



    Gopa Roy was born and raised in Tripura, India, and is currently living and maintaining her art practice in New Delhi. The primary influences in her work are local landscapes, harmonization of multi-cultural identities and the craft of the native peoples. During her MFA studies, she first explored the process of paper making from natural fiber--bamboo leaves, banana leaves, canes, etc., that she engages in her work. The suburban landscape of Santiniketan and Birbhum first inspired her to develop the process of cartography, based on experience and visual memories. She continues to engage metaphors of connection employing map and road imagery within her work.
    Gopa holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Govt. College  of Art & Craft in Tripura and an MFA from the Department of Painting from Kala Bhavana, Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal.
  • ‘Living in Digital Utopias’: On Existing and Art-Making | Tanzania

    EAS correspondent Valerie Amani writes about her conversation with artist Arafa C. Hamadi, a non-binary artist from Tanzania. Their discussion centers on Arafa’s art practice, exploring themes of identity, body and belonging within digital media and virtual spaces.

    'Self Portrait in Isolation' | Digital

    “Hello, I’m Arafa. I am a non-binary artist, living.” Those are the words that greet you as you enter Arafa’s digital Artist Residency page – the word ‘living’ lingering, almost rebelliously.

    In this instance, what does it mean to live? Living as your true self in a society that has carved you out to be an ‘other’, ceases to be just living; it becomes an act of resistance. As a self-identifying queer, non-binary artist, Arafa makes part of a necessary ecosystem of East African artists who just want to live.

    'Lacework' | Video Still

    In their artistic practice, Arafa explores themes of belonging, identity and body through digital media and virtual spaces. As a fellow Tanzanian artist, who understands the cultural implications of ‘living’ as an act of resistance, I was curious to know more about their work and how it has shaped the way they interact with the world.

    Arafa takes me through their artistic journey, starting from a high school assignment that led to their first encounter with anatomy through the works of Peter Elungat - an artist whose work playfully represents the body. They also mention how intimidating it was when shifting from primarily working as a graphic and set designer that received briefs, to having no briefs or guidance as an independent artist.

    On asking Arafa what has come to be their artistic process, they commented on how much their process changes depending on their location and what is happening in their life.

    “I’ve moved away from my previous more methodical process. It was terrifying creating my own work – what do you do without a brief? [they laugh] I have found that the confusion and questioning of the self at the beginning of creating, has become my art. My process has been about reflection, and what questions I have been asking myself, then finding artworks that have been answering these questions – artists I follow on Instagram, my friends. I interrogate myself; I find precedence; then I let myself ‘vomit’ [they laugh] this physical artwork out.”

    The metaphorical “vomiting” alludes to how Arafa aims to use the rawest version of their feelings and emotions without much editing; their works coming across as intimate and vulnerable virtual diary entries. In one of their earlier pieces, a poem titled 'I,'I Arafa writes:


    I am not a ringing noise 

                   screeching over the night, like a siren, 

                   an unbolted screw yearning for deliverance, as if your hand alone 

                  can hold me in place.”

    'I, I, The Digital Self' | Digital

    This piece was written before they identified as non-binary and paired with a video they recently made. The combination of past and present work are significant in how we reflect upon changing identities.

    “In the piece I read out a poem – I am interpreting an Arafa that existed then. The Arafa that existed then did not identify as non-binary, but had felt that they were at the cusp of understanding and somehow moving away from womanhood. Me reading the poem, I can relate to that person.”

    It is evident that the self is at the center of Arafa’s work, a self that despite having to find ways of existing beyond the physical, still has a tangible sense of acceptance and self-awareness. On speaking about how they have used digital media and the internet, it is clear that the digital realm has provided a means in which they can live.

    “As non-binary people, according to the government, we do not exist. We are not counted in the census. I cannot report a hate crime against me – I would get arrested for being homosexual. The only place I can claim myself is the internet. I can put the rainbow flag in my bio and I can write about my experience on the internet without feeling too unsafe. And if I do feel unsafe, I can delete it, and it becomes non-existent again.”

    'Kujiona' | Video Still

    This is another act of necessary resistance, resisting being silenced; especially when your voice and history is one that has been stifled before. Arafa is conscious about the role that art plays in how we remember - one of their most recent art pieces being an amalgamation of the present and past. It is an old Swahili Dhow, painted and covered in symbols including the non-binary symbol.

    The piece is fittingly titled, Kujiona, which is Swahili for “to see oneself”. The work is accompanied by a video piece in which Arafa converses with a local man who also identifies as Queer, their conversation centering on the history of homosexuality around the Swahili coast.

    'Kujiona Dhow' | Painted Wood

    “The conversation starts with me saying, I feel like we have no queer history, but then eventually we realize that it’s there! It’s there because we have the [Swahili] words for it. It’s there because there is this taboo that surrounds it. It’s there because my grandmother’s homophobia is specifically different from western homophobia. [It’s there] even in spiritual stories of the baobab and the ocean; maybe those are queer stories. I see myself in those stories and, thus, I claim them for myself.”

    There is a certain peace that comes with being seen and being acknowledged, a peace as a result of not having to constantly tell people who you are, but knowing that they just see you. At the heart of Arafa’s work, they are showing us who they were and who they are - while encouraging us to do the same - show ourselves.

    Ararfa - ICA exhibition page

    “If we can see ourselves, and we are inspired by the stories that we hear and the history that we learn… is it so bad to want to see [more of] ourselves so badly that we start creating our own stories?”

    In Arafa’s latest work Letu, a product of an online fellowship with the Institute of Creative Arts (Cape Town), they have not only created their own story but also built their own world, their “utopia”. In this work Arafa uses the virtual space to live freely, combining their favorite sounds and landscapes where both Arafa and another non-binary friend exist, captured digitally - forever in a state of peace.

    As a final reflection on the importance of living, especially living as a person who creates, I ask Arafa what advice they would give to artists who are in a space in which they do not feel seen. Arafa answers by saying that one should keep identifying moments that feel important to them and record those moments by whatever means possible. “Yourself, and your own experience is a worthy subject to explore over and over again,” they say, and I agree.

    'LETU' | Video Still

    As artists we have this wonderful gift that allows us to manufacture worlds, write truths and make our own history - it is vital to remember that we are important, that the work we do is important. It is vital to keep living, to keep resisting against governments that isolate and ignore queer bodies, that criminalize ways of existing. It is vital that we keep building the realities we want to exist in, even if that means starting online first.

    Photo Credit: Thea Gourdon


    Arafa Cynthia Hamadi is a multidisciplinary artist working in Tanzania and Kenya. They create artwork in various mediums that address the intersections of the conceptual and the physical, as well as the ephemeral and the permanent, in hopes of provoking their visitors into considering their daily realities. Arafa’s work also explores their queerness in relation to space and occupancy. They work in the realms of 3D design, graphic design, sculpture, architecture and sound.
    More of Arafa’s work can be seen through their portfolio and on Instagram: @arafabuilds  



    Valerie Asiimwe Amani is a Tanzanian artistic explorer who uses words to paint pictures, pictures to deconstruct daily interventions of emotion and emotion to create videos. She is currently an MFA candidate at The University of Oxford, researching and creating work around the intersection between art and modern spiritual practices.
    Instagram: @ardonaxela | website: www.valerieamani.com


  • ‘Deewaar Ke Piche’ (Behind the Wall) | Kolkata, India

    Artist Pritwish Daw presents and discusses his layered mixed-media project, recently included in EAS’s Calling Across the Distance exhibition.  Here he reflects on issues and questions embedded in the work--opening awareness while provoking deeper looking, re-consideration and understanding.


    'Deewaar Ke Piche' | Acrylic on digital print board paper | 8x10 inches | 2020

    What does it mean to ‘Call across the distance’?

    ‘Distance’ is such a word which, after hearing it, you have to take a pause or a sudden break. In our society today, there are many such distances or invisible walls which we always maintain--some are absolutely unnecessary and yet exist. The social media storm has eradicated any distance between two people who are absolutely unrelated yet connected. Funnily though, the very medium has created distance among those who actually are in close proximity at ever increasing rates.

    'Deewaar Ke Piche' (Detail)


    Distance also means the lack of understanding or the ability to grip a concept that exists in society. For example, we still shun away from eunuchs but ask for them to be acknowledged as the "third gender" on social networks -- that is quite the "social distancing". Our education system, that gives us our basic education, is weak. It does not have enough strength to even help us bridge our own minor gaps in understanding.

    'Deewaar Ke Piche' (Detail)

    But never lose hope.  All the small changes in our society, that we get to know, are the achievements of the educated that can lead to enlightenment.

    'Deewaar Ke Piche' (Detail)




    'Deewaar Ke Piche II' (Detail)

    What is the life of a sex worker?

    Prostitution is the oldest business that was ever conducted and does not have any form of social respect. It is such a profession that can never be shut down, even if tried at any and all levels. Prostitutes are members the society will always be separate and never acknowledged as a part of the societal construct. The hunger of the flesh and the lusty desire of many draw them to those who provide this service. This has been going on, to the best of my knowledge, since the beginning of the East India Company in the heart of the British capital, Calcutta or Kolkata, known as a Sonagachi. We have two responses, when we face them in the eye of society, to walk past in shame or just look and not respond. No civil man, from any walk of life, can deny the subtle enjoyment they derive when they behold their revealing flesh, but they lack the courage to do anything further than walk away. North Kolkata’s Sonagachi district is Asia’s largest red light area. Many movies, documentaries, web series and books have been spawned to articulate this realty, but one can never really fathom what the life of sex worker is truly like.

    'Deewaar Ke Piche II'

    What does ‘education’ really mean?

    The term ‘education’ doesn’t have one universal meaning for all. Bookish and social knowledge both play a big part in how we grow up to become  functional members of society. Those who we consider educated people sometimes commit acts that are absolutely unimaginable from such a person. Education can be an allegorical term that is not understood by everyone. India possesses both highly qualified individuals and mediocre individuals who have protested for many issues but never, in true essence, for education.

    We have imitated many things from the West and others but have not been able to grip the base of what education really means.

    'Deewaar Ke Piche II' (Detail)
    'Deewaar Ke Piche II' (Detail)












    Prithwish Daw lives in Kolkata, where he earned a BFA from the Indian College
    of Art and Draftsmanship. His work has been shown in numerous group shows,
    including a group project at the Kochi-Student Biennal, as well as
    Emergent Art Space’s 2017 “Translations” exhibition in Kolkata and
    2020 international online exhibition “Calling Across the Distance”.



  • ‘Kutoka Canvas kwenda Digitali’ | Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

    Emergent Art Space is delighted to publish here in Swahili the article about the workshop ‘Kutoka Canvas kwenda Digitali’ which we featured on this site on January 20.


    Wachoraji wa sanaa za uoni washauriwa kutumia teknolojia kuwa washindani, kuendeleza nchi.

    Wachoraji wa sanaa za uoni Tanzania wameshauriwa kutumia ujuzi wao kulinda na kutunza mila na utamaduni wa nchi na hivyo kuchangia kufikiwa kwa maendeleo endelevu.

    Wito huo umetolewa wakati wa warsha ya siku mbili iliyoitwa ‘Kutoka Canvas kwenda Digitali’ iliyoendeshwa jijini Dar es Salaam hivi karibuni.

    Warsha hiyo ni sehemu ya mradi wa ‘Hapo Zamani za Kale’ unaolenga kutunza na kuendeleza utamaduni wa asili wa Mwafrika wa kusimulia hadithi kwa kutumia njia za kisasa za sayansi na teknolojia kwa kutumia vitabu vya watoto, na kuchora miongoni mwa nyingine.

    Mradi wa 'Hapo Zamani za Kale' unatekelezwa na shirika lisilo la kiserikali la 'Aqua Farms Organization' (AFO) kwa ufadhili wa shirika la Voice Global.

    Akiongea wakati wa kufunga warsha hiyo, mmoja wa watayarishaji wa mafunzo hayo, Elizabeth Mwambulukutu alisema wasanii hao wachoraji wa sanaa za uoni wana nafasi muhimu katika kuitangaza Tanzania duniani, kuhifadhi sanaa na utamaduni wetu kwa vizazi vijavyo na kuelimisha watoto kupitia sanaa hizo kwani watoto huweza kuelewa haraka na kukumbuka walichojifunza kupitia michoro na kuongeza ubunifu.

    “Kukua kwa teknolojia kunatoa nafasi kubwa kwa sanaa hizi kuchangia maendeleo ikiwemo kuhifadhi tamatuni zetu na kazi za sanaa” alisema, na kuongeza kuwa “tungependa kuwahamasisha wanawake na walemavu kushiriki kwa wingi katika eneo hilo la sanaa za uoni , hata wale wachanga.”

    Mafunzo hayo yalilenga kuwajengea uwezo wa kidigitali kwa vitendo wasanii ili waweze kuwa washindani katika karne ya 21, na pia kuwafungulia milango ya mafanikio kwa kuwataarifu kuhusiana na fursa mbalimbali zilizopo katika soko kitaifa na kimataifa.

    Mafunzo hayo yalihudhuriwa na jumla ya washiriki 16 ikiwa ni pamoja na wasanii wa kazi za mikono, wadau kutoka mradi wa Hapo Zamani za Kale na AFO pamoja na mtaalamu wa lugha za alama kutoka Umoja wa Wataalamu wa Lugha za Alama Tanzania (TASLI).

    Wasanii hao waliopatikana baada ya kushindanishwa walijumuisha wanaume watatu na wanawake watatu kutoka mikoa ya Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Iringa na Tanga.

    Katika mafunzo hayo, msanii maarufu wa katuni, maarufu kama Masoud Kipanya aliwaongoza kwa vitendo wasanii hao sita namna mpya ya kufanya kazi zao tofauti na njia za asili za kuchora walizozowea.

    Mmoja wa waanzilishi wa mradi wa Hapo Zamani za Kale, Annastazia Gura alisema bado wasanii wa Afrika wanatumia njia za asili katika kufanya kazi zao. Hali hiyo, alisema, inasababisha wasanii kuachwa nyuma katika zama hizi za teknolojia na kuwa kikwazo katika kuchangamkia fursa na kuwa washindani wa kweli.

    Pia, ilibainika kuwa wasanii hasa wachoraji kwa sasa wanategemea aina ya soko moja tu la watalii na hivyo kusababisha vipato vyao kuwa finyu.

    “Bado wasanii hapa nyumbani hawana fursa za kujifunza toka kwa wale waliofanikiwa kutokana na ubunifu wao,” alisema Bi. Gura.

    Bi. Gura alisema tayari maendeleo ya teknolojia yanaendelea kusababisha mabadiliko makubwa katika sekta nyingine na kwamba wakati umefika kwa wasanii kufaidika pia.

    “Tunaona warsha hii ya mafunzo kama njia bora ya wasanii kupata ujuzi mpya na kubuni namna mpya za kukuza vipato,” alisema.

    Mbali na wasanii hao kukutana na Masoud Kipanya, mafunzo hayo pia yalikuwa ni nafasi kwo kukutana na kubadilishana uzoefu, kukuza ujuzi kwa kutumia teknolojia na kukuza mtandao baina yao.

    Masoud Kipanya alielezea umuhimu wa wasanii wa Tanzania kuwa tayari na wepesi wa kubadilika kuendana na maendeleo ya teknolojia. Alisema: “Kama wasanii ni muhimu kusoma alama za nyakati, lazima tujifunze kubadilika kama vinyonga.”

    Mmoja wa washiriki, Jennifer Msekwa alisema: “Kama wasanii wa kisasa, tunatakiwa kujifunza mbinu nyingi ili kuweza kushindana katika ulimwnegu wa sasa wa sayansi na teknolojia.”

    Masoud alifafanua zaidi kuwa tofauti na njia za asili za kuchora, matumizi ya teknolojia humpa nafasi kubwa msanii kuboresha kazi yake, kuwa na ubora zaidi na kuokoa muda.

    Albano Sylvester, mshiriki mwenye ulemavu katika mafunzo hayo alielezea furaha yake baada ya kupata msaada wa mtaalamu wa lugha ya alama na hivyo kushiriki kikamilifu kama wenzake.




    Elizabeth Mwambulukutu is a development communications practitioner and an award winning visual artist committed to shaping the African narrative. She serves as the Regional Communications Manager for WaterAid in East Africa. Elizabeth is driven to advancing Tanzania's creative industry through the restoration, preservation and promotion of authentic African stories. Elizabeth is the co-founder of Arts and Culture for Development Africa (AC4D) and the creative mind behind Elle Emmanuel Photography. She's a Mandela Washington Fellow, Vice Curator for Arusha Global Shapers and Fellow of the Young and Emerging Leaders Project, an initiative of the LéO Africa Institute.



    Hapo Zamani za Kale    ||    AquaFarms Organisation - AFO    ||    Arts and Culture for Development (AC4D)
  • Digital Art, Storytelling and Empowerment | Tanzania

    EAS correspondent and Tanzanian-based creative Elizabeth Mwambulukutu reports on an empowering  2-day digital canvas workshop dubbed "Kutoka Canvas Kwenda Digitali", held in Dar es Salaam in December.  As co-founder of Arts and Culture for Development Africa (AC4D)¹ and of the storytelling project "Hapo Zamani za Kale", Elizabeth helped to facilitate and organize this workshop.


    Well-known Tanzanian cartoonist Masoud Kipanya teaching workshop participants how technology can be used to improve their artwork | Photo Credit: Hapo Zamani za Kale

    "Kutoka Canvas Kwenda Digital" [From Canvas to Digital] Workshop 

    Art is never static. Due to globalization and technological advancements, various industries around the world consistently experience disruptions in their practice and, like its counterparts, art is no exception.

    Realizing this challenge, renowned cartoonist and media personality Masoud Kipanya teamed up with the "Hapo Zamani za Kale" [Once Upon a Time] cultural storytelling project, using his journey as an artist to support, mentor and inspire six young Tanzanian artists through a practical workshop that exposed them to new art practices beyond the canvas.  “Art is like a tree with many branches into which artists can venture and explore.” were Kipanya’s opening words to the Kutoka Canvas Kwenda Digital workshop session. The workshop  is part of the "Hapo Zamani za Kale" (a project of Aqua Farms Organization-AFO²) that aims to preserve, restore and promote the culture and art of traditional storytelling and African stories in Tanzania using mixed and multimedia through children's storybooks, visual art, podcasts and animation.

    Workshop participants and presenters | Photo Credit: Hapo Zamani za Kale

    Currently and globally, COVID-19 has exposed many industries to vulnerabilities, forcing them to think  beyond business as usual. In the area of visual art, most African visual artists still rely on traditional techniques for practicing art. Such limitations may lead to a mismatch between emerging global trends, the changing creative economic landscape and existing art practices, which may also lead to African visual artists missing out on new opportunities.

    Many African visual artists depend on a single traditional art form (i.e. fine art/painting on canvas) or a single consumer market (i.e. tourists), limiting their access to income generation streams.  In Tanzania, visual artists have few platforms to learn practical skills from industry experts who have broken glass ceilings through their creativity.

    Participant exploring digital drawing methods | Photo Credit: Hapo Zamani za Kale

    Speaking about the workshop, facilitator Annastazia Gura, co-founder of "Hapo Zamani za Kale", said:  “We are thrilled to partner with Masoud Kipanya in exposing visual artists to new possibilities for expanding their art practice.  The workshop allowed artists to learn and apply new knowledge in using digital creative tools - a canvas, paint brush, palette knife and colour palette, to name a few. We have seen the effects of technological advancements in other sectors of the economy, it is high time we expand these to the creative industry.  This is exactly what inspired "Kutoka Canvas Kwenda Digitali". We see it as a pathway for visual artists to gain new skills and seek new avenues for generating income.”

    The workshop training presented an unparalleled opportunity for visual artists to not only meet a role model, but to share experiences, expand their expertise through the use of technology, make new professional connections and gain exposure to creative thought processes, such as creating storyboards. Kipanya emphasized the importance of visual artists being versatile, flexible and adaptable to changing technological advancements around the world. He said: “It is important that Tanzanian artists learn how to be like chameleons through their art practice [in order] to adjust to emerging trends and diversify their techniques.”

    Storyboard Assignment, first sketch

    Introducing the workshop’s objectives, Kipanya went on to say: “The objective of this workshop is to introduce you to the world of digital illustration. If you hear someone introducing themselves as an illustrator, do not be intimidated, because an illustrator is also a visual artist just like you. Before doing anything as a visual artist, you either sketch using paper and pen or using your creative mind.” The use of technology in art allows artists more flexibility compared to drawing on canvas using paints and brushes. For example, if an artist is exhibiting their work in a traditional fine art form, the digital version or presentation of their artwork will likely be an image taken of their artwork through their smartphones or an image scanned through a printer. This not only affects the quality of the digital version of an artwork but presents higher risks of damaging the work, if not handled correctly. Unlike drawing on canvas, the use of technology simplifies creative workflow, be it from resizing or repositioning objects/subject. Everything can be done through the use of technology, maintaining the quality of an artwork and saving time by enhancing the speed of the output. Advancements in technology also allow artists to get the feel of the making process through using the digital equivalent of artistic tools, be it canvas, paint, paint brush or palette knife.

    Storyboard Assignment - final sketch

    In Kipanya’s session on digital art and creation of a storyboard, the visual artists were put to the test using a storytale called Kima na Mamba read deliciously by the "Hapo Zamani za Kale" team.  The storytale was among those collected by the "Hapo Zamani za Kale" project in the Tanga region. Six visual artists teamed up to interpret, imagine and translate the storytale from words into imagery under the close supervision of the creative guru Masoud Kipanya.  The visual artists used six boxes, each representing a different scene from the storytale.

    Artist, Albano Sylvester, sketching artwork

    Workshop Participants, Benefits and Take-Aways

    The "Kutoka Canvas Kwenda Digitali" Workshop was attended by a total of 16 participants including visual artists, "Hapo Zamani za Kale" and Aqua Farms Organization team members and a sign language expert from Tanzania Association of Sign Language Interpreters (TASLI). Selected through a competitive call for artists, the cohort of artists selected from Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Iringa and Tanga regions included three male artists, George Emmanuel, Mustafa Sumaya, Albano Sylvester who is an artist living with a disability and three female artists Shija Masele, Jennifer Msekwa and Brenda Kibakaya.

    The workshop aimed to empower Tanzanian visual artists with digital skills, to compete in the 21st century. It provided artists with new opportunities for creating, showcasing and marketing their work. Lastly, it inspired and motivated emerging Tanzanian visual artists who learned about the journey and experience of an expert in the industry.

    Jennifer Msekwa, Tanzanian artist and environmental activist says: “As modern artists, we need to have skills that can help us to compete with today’s world of science and technology. As an artist from a developing country, I think it is important to add new skills, especially through digital technology from canvas to digital skills.” In her artwork she addresses issues of gender discrimination and depicts  African women who suffer from family duties without help from men.

    'Overwhelmed' by Jennifer Msekwa | Mixed media
    'Natural Elements' by Jennifer Msekwa | Acrylic on Paper


    Albano Sylvester, an artist living with a disability commented: “Having a disability and [the] challenge of being unable to communicate verbally, I often go to training and I am forced to use pen and paper in order to communicate. I am impressed to have found a sign language expert at this "Kutoka Kanvasi Kwenda Digitali" workshop which has allowed me to learn, participate fully and enjoy sessions like the rest of my fellow participants.”

    'Mama' by Albano Sylvester | Acrylic on canvas
    'Msasani Beach' by Albano Sylvester | Acrylic on canvas












    'Women in Power' by George Nyandiche | Mixed media on canvas | 75cm x 90 cm




    George Nyandiche, speaking about this work Women in Power says “Women are the ones who bring new beings to life.  Therefore, every new generation starts with a woman. The source to life.  Women are not as weak as society’s perception; they give birth to children and fight for them to survive and keep them safe.  Women are very powerful.  They persevere in difficult situations, care for others well-being and think critically about the benefits of everyone else within their families.”






    'Instrumental' by George Nyandiche | Oil and acrylic on canvas

    Artist Mustafa Sumaya, speaking about his own transition to digital art explained, “Digital arts/illustration is like killing three birds with one stone. Wherever you are, all you need is the internet connectivity. There is no need for colour mixing settings as the full colour printing of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (CMYK) is already matched, thus giving the artists the advantage of maintaining the quality of their work. Lastly, there is the discarded need for scanning of the artwork, thus allowing [for the] easy sharing of one's work.”


    Emergent Insights and Concluding Thoughts

    I. Artists should be at the frontline in preserving, restoring and promoting Tanzanian arts and culture.

    II. Visual artists have a role to play in contributing towards quality education given that visual learning is
    key to stimulate learning in young minds, enhance education materials and create comprehension ability.

    III. More opportunities are needed for women and persons living with disabilities in the area of visual art.

    IV. To this end, the advancement of technologies presents limitless possibilities for a creative to contribute
    towards this.


    Tanzania is rich in art and culture and our creative industry has great potential. We believe visual artists have a significant role to play when it comes to preserving, restoring and promoting our rich culture. This workshop has sparked new interest among participating artists. We see it as an opportunity for young men, women and persons living with disabilities to expand their horizons in the creative industry, while gaining exposure and mentorship from creative industry experts.

    1. AC4D is a Tanzanian initiative whose primary purpose is to use art to inspire, educate and provide opportunities to shape the future of creatives. AC4D uses artistic mediums to embrace cultural identity to shape community narratives.
    2. Aqua-Farms Organization is a non-governmental organization dedicated to replenishing aquatic resources with community-based conservation and sustainable aquaculture.



    Elizabeth Mwambulukutu is a development communications practitioner and an award winning visual artist committed to shaping the African narrative. She serves as the Regional Communications Manager for WaterAid in East Africa. Elizabeth is driven to advancing Tanzania's creative industry through the restoration, preservation and promotion of authentic African stories. Elizabeth is the co-founder of Arts and Culture for Development Africa (AC4D) and the creative mind behind Elle Emmanuel Photography. She's a Mandela Washington Fellow, Vice Curator for Arusha Global Shapers and Fellow of the Young and Emerging Leaders Project, an initiative of the LéO Africa Institute.



    Hapo Zamani za Kale    ||    AquaFarms Organisation - AFO    ||    Arts and Culture for Development (AC4D)


  • ‘Studio Practice – Experiments with Memory and Material’ | West Bengal, India

    West Bengal artist, Subhadip Bhattacharya shares his recent work ‘Repairing My Old Memory’.  This work evolved from an exploratory studio process that moved beyond painting and canvas to find new expressive means with plaster, mashed paper, and fragments of story from his memory.

    “Repairing My Old Memory” (1) | Paper pulp, POP Archival Photograph, 2020

    I use the term 'practice' to describe performing my activity, skill and intellect in discourse with my artwork, where I’m not just practicing but making mistakes and learning from them. For me, my post graduation painting studio is not only for colours and canvases, but for challenging painterliness itself and pushing the limits of paper and colours. Engaging both memory and material, as means of expression, allow me to transform my ideas while imagining and reimagining. Sometimes this transformation process sings out from the expected to unexpected and vice versa.

    One can observe a gradual change or evolvement in my work from my earlier practice to now. My habit of writing diaries and the juxtaposition or objectification of those, were key to my earlier practices. The scroll of translation and narration turned to the exploration of memories of my own  day-to-day events and the stories told and retold by my surroundings--the oral stories collected in my memory. I questioned myself painting these stories on a surface with readymade colours and canvases. My satisfaction was in the making of my canvas itself, but it needs extra  research besides my own subjectivity.

    “Repairing My Old Memory” (2), detail

    “Repairing My Old Memory” (2) | paper pulp, plaster, text.

    I do experiments with the memory and material. While memory is about remembering or recollecting, it results in being a different story from the past, maybe a fragmented one. I explore this idea of fragmentation, unfolding the possibility of repair for longevity. In the case of material, I explore the surface, while making use of plaster of Paris with the mashed paper.  Working with the material, using my hands, gives a unique textural identity of creating my own surface. That is how I benefit from my amateur status of exploring a new technique. The surface in my work is a multi-layered, bumpy, pulpy mass on which I inscribe my fragmented memories in Bengali script, my mother tongue. The text in my work relates to the word play of my memory of experiences speaking directly to the viewer.

    My recent works of art are thus connected to making paper, printmaking and engaging the creative process while working with memories and shaping new forms out of it.




    Subhadip Bhattacharya lives in West Bengal, India. He has studied art through specialized and multidisciplinary workshops in India and received a BFA and MFA in painting from Visva Bharati University.  He has been awarded numerous scholarships and certificates of merit and his artwork has been included in group exhibitions and was recently featured in Emergent Art Space’s international online show “Calling Across the Distance”.




  • ‘Evolving New Artistic Paradigms’ | Sevilla, Spain

    Ramon was one the first young artists to join Emergent Art Space and he now serves as an Advisory Board member. He discusses here his early interest in art, as well as his discoveries, shifting aims, ideas and development as an artist concerned with making a better world.


    Untitled | India ink, charcoal, sepia and sanguine

    Since I was very little, I was interested in the arts as a universal way to communicate. I could not even think with any other form, in terms of studies, while I was growing up. So I consider myself very lucky because I did not have to choose the degree that I had to do. Art chose me.

    Once I got the opportunity to go to the university, I decided to move to Seville because I always wanted to live in a city like this one. Seville is an international city with many possibilities. You can find tradition, but also contemporaneity. It is big, but not huge and is

    Untitled | Inks and pencil

    close enough to my hometown, Ecija, which allows me to visit my family with some frequency.

    At the beginning, I focused on Picasso. I wanted to be like him, a prodigious painter who learned to paint very realistically and ended up deforming reality. I thought this had to be the way to become a great artist, but then everything changed in my mind. I discovered that art does not require a unique approach, but encourages one to be open-minded enough to explore possibilities in connection with interests and expertise.

    Untitled | Acrylic and Oil

    I found out that art is a pathway to generate knowledge. Art can be a means with which human beings can improve their societies in order to make a better world in all senses. Unfortunately, nowadays art seems to be just another element of the capitalist system.

    During my time at the university, I learned a very academic approach to art. So, I can understand why many artists today are not concerned with anything other than form or aesthetic discourse. I must confess now that the university, for me as an artist, was not a bed of roses. My thoughts were flying further than the artistic educational environment encouraged.

    I can make a visual comparison between my first works and my last projects, while in graduate school. For example, the images in this publication show the evolution of my drawings and paintings. The same journey happened with the sequential progression of my sculptures.

    The Girl of El Corte Inglés | Collage and acrylic paint

    I was learning a lot about techniques and making but, in the end, I could not identify myself with any of these works at all. Finally, when I thought that everything was lost, a bright moment came into my life. During my last year (fifth academic year), I moved to Leicester (UK), thanks to an exchange program. I was studying at De Montfort University and then it happened--what I called ‘my artistic awakening’.

    I was inspired by the Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn who said, “I did realize that I have to make the choice to be an artist. I decided to be an artist because only as an artist can I be totally responsible for what I do. The decision to be an artist is the decision for freedom. Freedom is the condition for responsibility. I did realize, to be an artist is not a question about form or a question about content, it is the question about responsibility.” As a way into better understanding the fight for freedom, I decided to make a three-piece installation asking the world for reflections based on the questions: ‘Who are you? What are you doing? What can you do?’
    (See three-piece installation at De Montfort University photos and text at the end of this piece.)

    Saint Roman | Terracotta

    After my undergraduate degree, I completed two masters. One of them was about art education, and the other one was about contemporary art. While in Leicester, I had the opportunity to do research and to write a bit about what I could call a kind of a graduate school thesis. The topic I chose explored the critical issues surrounding questions of death and mortality in the work of contemporary artists Damien Hirst and Kiki Smith. Finally, I ended up doing a PhD in Art and Heritage, where I had the opportunity to express all my thoughts about the current art situation worldwide. My hypothesis posited that a significant increase in the responsibility and commitment of human beings in citizenship and social improvement is possible in a real and effective way through the formulation and dissemination of new artistic paradigms. To do so, artists must be able to apprehend renewed approaches, working in common from our daily environment and digital culture.

    'Mother Earth' | Artificial Marble

    These ideas conduct me today to produce what I call a kind of democratic art. Engaging practices such as interdisciplinarity, cooperative community collaboration and a good use of network, information and communication technologies, I develop socially engaged art projects. Past examples of this work include: Sahara LIbre Flag (Western Sahara/Algeria, 2011) Integração (Rio de Janeiro, 2014) and The Universal Game: One Flag to Connect Us All (Ottawa, 2015). You can learn more about these projects in a 2017 EAS interview.

    During my graduate studies, I got a series of scholarships and grants, artist residencies and research stays in different countries. To get these opportunities, I had to encourage myself to apply for them, otherwise I would not have had the chance to get them. So, somehow, it was my choice to fight for them and it was not something compulsory inside my studies program. Let’s say that most of my colleagues never applied to any of those scholarships or grants. These opportunities were my entrance to the real world. I took notice of what life is.

    'Self-Portrait, Am I alive?' | Metal

    I came to understand that if I wanted to keep growing, I had to develop ideas and artworks on my own. These experiences empowered me, increased my confidence and sense of possibility. Prior to this, I couldn’t even imagine that I would end up making the huge, large-scale art projects that I ended up creating. I think that when you travel, you learn double, become more open-minded and mature faster.

    Emergent Art Space (EAS) was also important to my development as an artist. I began with uploading my portfolio to the online platform. Later I had the opportunity to be one of the selected artists for the EAS international exhibition ‘Crossing Borders’. This was an unforgettable experience because it provided me an opportunity to think beyond my own understanding, engage with other artists across the globe and realize that everything is possible with art. The EAS team is always looking forward to listening to new young artists internationally and to connecting them to others around the world. My advice to artists in the EAS community is to take advantage of this wonderful platform in order to develop and to disseminate your projects and art practice without fear.


    Three-Piece Installation at De Montfort University

    'You can’t escape' | Wood, fabric and mannequin

    A suspended coffin with a body (mannequin) engulfed in black fabric tries to answer the first question.

    This piece is accompanied by a performance where the human being wants to go out.
    He is represented like a dead body that leaves the coffin to fight against the conformism of the world,
    but there are too many obstacles. It is impossible to move even when you are alive.
    The aim is for the spectator to identify with the mannequin.
    You have to think about who you are to do something against this, because you can’t escape.
    The general idea of this piece is about death.

    'You can escape' | Wood

    The second piece on the installation is a big labyrinth of panels and pallets of wood that shows
    the viewer a difficult way until reaching an exit.Pass wherever you pass, you can escape because walking and walking you can always find an exit.
    A big box, a room, an independent world, where the interaction of the spectator is most important.
    There is a video-projection inside the labyrinth that shows the making of the artwork.
    Here I want to connect everything, like a bridge between the beginning and the end for the viewer.
    What is the difference between the world inside the installation and the world outside it?
    The darkness, the oppression, is inside, and the decision to continue discovering, or not,
    makes a difficult exit, but an exit exists by pursuit -- so, the idea of life.

    'You can decide' | Wood

    The last question is answered by a piece installed on the roof of the workshop at De Montfort University.I send to everybody the possibility to decide, I transmit a direct message against the passivity of society to the world in general. The words “you can decide” represents the concept of existence. It is true that we are alive, so we can decide to do something or not. I decided to try to be an artist, and I decided to do this. Finally, I wanted to say that all is possible, that you have to ask yourself who you are and what you are doing. Then you have to ask yourself, in the face of life, what you can do, and then, within the limits, do it.


    Ramon Blanco-Barrera, a.k.a. ‘233’, earned his PhD from University of Seville, Spain and is on the Fine Arts faculty there. He teaches new media based courses, and his art practice and research explores social and political issues around the world. Ramon sends social and political messages in order to engage people in reflecting on their communities, both local and universal, constantly bringing up human rights concepts and values. He uses the number ‘233’ in reference to the ‘identity game’ of our overpopulated world system. 233’s democratic artworks have been processed and installed or exhibited internationally, including UK, Argentina, Western Sahara, Palestine, Brazil, Canada, USA, Australia and Spain, among others.


    Email: rbb@us.es
    Website: www.233art.com
    Social Networks: @233art