I am Shweta Bhattad, visual Artist from India. I am invited for Vancouver Biennale 2014-2016.
The broader theme of this Biennale is Martin Luther’s King’s speech “I have a dream”. I went to residency for Vancouver Biennale at Squamish in month of July 2014. For this Biennale programme I proposed Global Art Farming Peace Project and named the project as “I Have A Dream”. Squamish is a rural part of Canada, where I made an installation structure, which will be completed in 2016, with the help of the video documentation from collaborating Artists from all around the globe. For this installation I am inviting Artists and Farmers around the world to collaborate and bring them altogether on one global stage.
We all know about Martin Luther King and his contribution to world. His revolutionary speech “I have a dream” made a deep impact on people and resulted as the pillars to build Modern America. When in this time I sit and look back, in whole world I see some influential people like Martin Luther King in some or other attire, who made this world the better place to live in. Such as Mahatma Gandhi for India, Nelson Mandela for Africa and so on and now at this time it is more important to talk about all such important influential people on one stage. When I talk about bringing these influential people on same stage, I think about the work they did and then want to talk on it in a totally different perspective, uniting the contribution of different communities from different countries. The one thread which connects mother earth is food, and food is also our primary need.
Women and food are always amongst the main concerns I am working on, and that is why I chose to live in rural area during Vancouver Biennale International Artist Residency Programme, as farming is done more in rural areas. Food is very integral part of our day to day lives and I think farming is more connected to women and her role in society. In this globally growing world, the area of farms is reducing very fast… For the project “I Have a Dream”, I am inviting artists around the globe to collaborate who can further collaborate with farmers of their respective countries to grow some grains or vegetables in fields or gardens in form of the sentence which means “I Have A Dream” in their own language and font which can be captured by aerial view.
During this project of sowing seeds there should be community discussion between artists and farmers about the social heroes of their own countries, local issues, farmers stories and global peace. Project can be done during the sowing seasons of respective collaborating countries, so it will be like all over the world in different countries artists will initiate the project with farmers and will sow the seeds singing their own traditional farming songs, take community meetings and discussions (at least 4 meetings through the project), this all should be documented by the collaborating artists, uploaded and shown on the different video screens which will be displayed during Biennale. These all collaboratively grown crops will be cultivated during the project and will be used for the community lunch between collaborating Artists and Farmers.
Technically this all process from cultivation to harvest may take 90 days(can be different in different countries), artist can choose their own harvesting seasons as the biennale
project is of two years which will connect and unite people and communities all around the world on one stage of biennale through the very basic necessity of a human to survive that is food, also to make relationship with land, ecology & food, to think about women and their role in society, in relation to fertility of land and growth or on whatever subject the collaborating artists and farmers want to talk on.
During this project, while harvesting, cultivating and during the process of collaborating people will learn more about the reformers, their works and the exchanges will go on, in this exchange they will come to know about the important people and their history and their contribution towards the different part of the world. Realization of this project and collaboration of artists and farmers from different regions, disciplines, and background will open ground for cross cultural exchanges.
Timeline of the project and its presentation.
The final display will be in the form of videos and images which artists will upload from all over the globe. These images and videos will be installed in a wooden structure which I fabricated in form of “I Have a Dream”, during my stay at Squamish biennale residency, where different video screens, one for each country will be displayed in Biennale, where the videos will keep running showing the process of the project. Each screen will be titled by the name of collaborating artists and farmers and the viewer can hear the videos through head phones. The final installation, with video screens and videos from different countries will be completed in 2016.
This project is now selected for the Big Idea Educational Program and is now the part of 11 Grade syllabus of Canadian Schools, students will learn about the global farming scenario from the videos by collaborating Artists. Artists will be credited for being the part of the Syllabus. You can follow this link for more details BIG IDEAS Education. Also biennale will mention the names of collaborating artists, groups and farmers on their website, giving them the credit of collaboration in this global project.
The land required for the project can also be a small garden space, but the words grown
should be clearly visible. At present there are 25 countries collaborating in “I Have A Dream” Global Art Farming Peace Project.
Images from collaborating Artists & Farmers
I Have A Dream Project in Rajasthan, India by- Neeraj Patel
This project is a global project and belongs to everyone who is collaborating and who is following…
Is there any participation fee for Artists and farmers in this global project ?
Ans: No participation fees required.
What artist, farmer and participating country will get ?
As it is a Global project talking about world peace, which will involve the countries around the globe, it will share the huge platform, where there will be important community discussions taking place via skype and other social media. Farmers and Artists can share stories about them and their countries on one platform. This project will have a greater public attention and visibility around the globe. Project from each country will be well labeled with Artist and Farmers names and will be the part of open museum display at Canada. Also the project will be the part of online display. Skype and other social networking will help for sharing and making network with collaborating artists and farmers. Also the project & documentation from collaborating Artist will be the part of Big Ideas Education Programme for Grade 11 Canadian school syllabus.
The ideas and knowledge exchange, through skype meet and project updates will open new platforms for Artists & Farmers both.
What to talk to Farmers ?
You need to collaborate with farmers explaining them about the importance of project for them, for you, for your country. Explaining them about how all the farmers and artists from around the globe are uniting for this project and how they can keep their views and issues related to farming, land issues, farmers stories, your national social heroes and talking about the world peace in such way (you are free to choose the subject you need to take to world which you feel is very important for your country to be the part of community discussions the decision should be collaborative)… Farmers need to unite together to use their skill to make the plantation happen, they are our feeders, and have a special place in human world, this project is in a way tribute to their contribution to our lives too… You need to find farmers who would love to collaborate voluntarily.
Land size ?
You need to find a land or garden where you can sow the seeds and have a clear areal view of the words “I Have a Dream” grown.
When to plant ?
You can plant during the sowing season of your country (taking farmer assistance)
What to plant ?
You can choose to plant anything crop or vegetable, cultivating which you need to do community lunch with farmers. Also you can choose the crop which has the relation to your country history (Talking farmer assistance)
How to plant ?
Artist need to help the farmers understanding and marking the sentence on land which means “I Have a Dream” in their own country language and font (showing them the images). Farmers need to use their skills for sowing, harvesting and cultivating.
How and what to document ?
You need to document the process of marking the space, sowing seeds, discussions videos and every 10 days the images of growth (if you want make frequent images will also be good) and uploading it on the address or site of the project. We will also let you know about the video quality and from what height it should be shoot. You can do discussions in your own language, but while documenting you need to add English subtitles in video, so it can reach larger audience. You can also collaborate with different organizations or Artist community for the realization of the project. If possible if there is any costume, culture, songs of farming, sowing seeds, harvesting or cultivating, you can make it a part of project performing it with farmers and recording it. In this way we can also exchange each other’s farming culture.
How many community discussions and meets should be done during the entire project
and when ?
Artist need to plan meetings discussions with farmers. You need to plan at least 4 meetings with farmers for community discussions (on subject of collaborative choices), time and dates will be your choice, there is an online chart for all collaborating artists and farmers where everyone can fill, the dates and time of discussions which will be publicly available so that people around the globe can keep track of the project and we all will know where, when, what and how the things will happen. Artists and farmers can choose their own dates and time for discussions according to their own comfort but it should be filled by the artist in online project schedule chart.
Skype Meet ?
Once we decide on participating countries and artists we will make a common skype meet. If you have any more questions please feel free to ask…
About Author : Shweta Bhattad is a visual artist from Nagpur, Maharashtra, India working for farmers cause as well as other rural life improvement projects through art, she can be reached through Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Have-A-Dream-Project/1411957069058466
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