Spaces for Community |  #TakeTheCityKolkata : Pickle Factory Season 3
11th – 13th November 2022
Behala Nutan Dal Pujo Ground (Click here for location)

Housed in a Puja Pandal, in a joint venture with Behala Nutan Dal, this temporary pop-up arts venue is a hub for city communities to come together to reflect on collective histories, build on current thinking and imagine into the future what we envision for the city. Every year the Puja Pandal becomes a temporary home to spark debate, dialogue, inspire wonder, share strong opinions, blossom deep connections & feelings and create long lasting memories – and all of it through the deep love for arts and culture that the city of Kolkata has at its heart. Spaces for Community brings together Durga Puja committees; vibrant para neighbourhoods; painters, dancers, singers and artists; the East Kolkata Wetlands community… the city is our muse!

This project has it’s foundation in CRO|PAN – an ongoing collaborative project with Marc Rees in Wales and his CROMEN project. Two natural material based and temporary structures for arts and community reflection and participation came out of this, CORAN CARON that was housed in Eisteddfod Festival in Wales this year, and our Spaces for Community pandal inspired from the core structures seen during Durga Puja Festival in Kolkata.

The issues raised within these temporary artistic structures very much draw from our respective local histories, skills of local artists and our collective concern towards the global climate crisis.

***** Entry to all programmes by donation. Pay what you can to contribute towards bringing our Calcutta communities together. Thank you! *****

Day 1 | 11 Nov ‘22 |  Artistic roots | Community Histories

In 2021 UNESCO has awarded Durga Puja the Intangible Heritage Tag. What does this mean to the community of artists, puja committee members, skilled workers, artists and audiences? And even before that what are the histories of artistry and artistic practice and form that has brought us to this point. What brings so many diverse people together year after year and how does it embody and affect the spirit and enduring character of the city?

  • 6pm onwards : Hub as a space for reflection on the impact of Durga puja on the city
  • 7pm Mahāmāyā  by Shashwati Garai Ghosh & Angashuddhi dancers followed by adda on the evolution of the pandal as an artistic & community space facilitated by Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director,  East & Northeast india British Council

Mahāmāyā

Devi paksha, is the time Devi Durga – the mother, visits with all her grandeur, grace and divine aura. She brings joy, exuberance and celebration in every human heart. She enlightens us with the values of power and strength. More importantly though, she reminds us of the virtues of patience, and peace.

Durga – the symbol of Shakti, is the subtle force, honoring and adoring the mind with endurance and calmness.

Mahāmāyā – resides everywhere, everyday through every moment of our worldly existence invoking the power to accept and let go.

Day 2 | 12 Nov ‘22 | Who Builds | Community Created

This day especially celebrates the tireless work of usually nameless skilled workers of various intricate disciplines, who craft and build our spaces whether stages or pandals, and without whom the the city’s Durga Puja could never achieve its full glory. Many of these skilled workers may be farmers in other seasons, or have learnt their skill via family generations or sheer number of years on the job. Each specialisation contributes to the rich tapestry of artistic forms and practices that provide us a wealth of talent and technique.

  • 6pm : Exhibitions & screenings reflecting interviews from skilled workers of various specialisations.
  • 7pm : Performance –  Meepao by Nachom Arts Foundation Manipur | Choreographed by Surjit Nongmeikapam – the performance through ritualistic movement seeks to highlight the unsung heroes and ordinary people who are usually behind the scenes followed by adda around the contribution of skilled workers to our art and community experiences

    In Meepao one sees the presence of the everyday, ordinary person.

    Meepao is a dance in celebration of all the departed, especially the ones who are usually seen as inconsequential. Using minimal movements, meepao invites the spectator into a space where dancers and non-dancers alike can join in this celebration. Each movement repeats, as though creating its own ritual, and finds its depth and textures through the synchronisity of bodies dancing together to the beat of live music. They slowly transcend into a liminal space where the living (mee) convey a message (pao) of harmony.

    Register here for Yangshak Movement Workshop with Surjit Nongmeikapam. The Yangshak movement is an exploration into the LAIREN MATHEK philosophy of the Manipuri martial art form, Thang-Ta (Khuthek Lal Thek) and Dance (Jagoi).

Day 3 | 13 Nov ‘ 22 | What we waste | Community Futures

Our last day will look to our collective future in our city. We cannot ignore the vast impact climate change already has had on us and will continue to have. We are also blessed to be an ecologically subsidised city, thanks to the East Kolkata Wetlands. Miraculously, given the boon of our wetlands, we already have some solutions at our doorstep, but it is up to us to realise that we are what we waste. We cannot take it for granted. In the enormous challenge that is the climate emergency we also have a great deal of  scope for positive and collective action.  How will we choose to address this, together, as a community and as a city?

  • 4pm onwards :  Hub exhibition by Disappearing Dialogues by Nobina Gupta & Saptarshi Mitra – A Human Library & communityar engagement with local inhabitants of the East Kolkata Wetlands
  • 7pm: Performance:  Detritus by Continew & Artsforward for At the Still Point | Conceived by Paramita Saha followed by adda on imagining our future sustainable city

Detritus is a multiform contemporary performance that proposes a lightness of being and living in a world that is overburdened by what we consume and discard. Detritus is traditionally organic debris that is assimilated back into the ecosystem through decay. Detritus is also the remnants of human activity, mass-accumulated from objects that we did not need or were not able to find enough usage for, objects that were never meant to be reabsorbed into the system. The alteration of detritus into an ever-expanding mountain of waste burning in toxic flames where humans and animals scavenge to survive has become an uncontrollable Frankenstein of our making. This piece explores the proliferation of the problem into a monster, Detritus, looming large over mankind, contaminating and disrupting natural processes of regermination. Community action becomes a strategy where the audience is invited at a critical point, as stakeholders in this problem and therefore its solution.

Day 3 | 13 Nov ‘ 22 | What we waste | Community Futures

East Kolkata Wetlands Living Library.

Any imagination of a future for the city of Kolkata has to be rooted in communities and in collective action. Kolkata in particular has an innate synergy to the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) – both the place and maybe, more importantly, the community is critical to the everyday workings of the city.

Our vision for the day is to catalyse conversations highlighting the EKW community and its unique practices. The core of this exhibit will be a human library – comprising of local experts from the EKW who will demonstrate an element of their craft/practice which is also a critical element of life in the EKW or its ecology. Through the conversations, we hope will emerge multiple threads that tie the city and the wetlands, illustrating aspects of Climate Change, Ecological balance, circular economy and the role of the EKW in structuring these processes.

The Disappearing Dialogues Collective (dD) is a multi-disciplinary team of professionals motivated by the desire to work with and within communities. Our focus is on the foregrounding of subliminal realities, disappearing practices and conservation of fragile socio- spatial landscapes.

Shashwati Garai Ghosh is a leading Odishi dancer of this generation who has made a niche in her field, both locally and internationally. Coming from a family of artists has made her believe that art reflects life, and now she experiences life through the art of dance. She is the senior most disciple of Sharmila Biswas. Shashwati is the first recipient of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Yuva Pratibha Samman and she received the 2016 Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for Odissi among many others. 

Angashuddhi – Home for Odishi – is her initiative to nurture, and pass on the experience of learning Odishi to the next generation, to explore more vistas and imbibe the roots of the form.

Surjit Nongmeikapam (Bonbon) is an Imphal, Manipur-based choreographer and performing artist. He started his dance career when he was 24 years old. Trained in traditional Indian forms/movements before developing an interest in interdisciplinary arts and experimental works, he is also the founder and artistic director of Nachom Arts Foundation (NAF). Having completed his B.A. Choreography from Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography, he is one of the few dancers and choreographers in Manipur to engage with contemporary dance forms and seek to promote their development beyond the traditional Manipur culture. He is also an award-winning (PECDA) choreographer for his pieces Nerves (2014) and Folktale (2016)

Paramita Saha is a performer, curator, and arts manager, based in Kolkata. She co-founded ArtsForward, an organisation that has engaged in creative advocacy for environmental sustainability, audience development for the arts, supporting emerging artists and fostering artistic ability. She runs At the Still Point, India’s only crowd-funded dance platform. Paramita is an ArtThinkSouthAsia 2016 Fellow and an ISPA Fellow in 2018 and 2021. She has founded ArtAloneTogether, India’s first and only am-pm, mixed arts online festival featuring artists across disciplines and borders; a Continued Learning Program in Dance called Continew operating in both online and offline formats; she co-founded www.unmute.help, an online resource centre to safeguard the rights of performing artists!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Anita Ratnam
Marc Rees
Isabel Griffin
Simon Coates
Debanjan Chakrabarti
Lata Bajoria
Sanidhya Mittal

for Hub
Arka Alam, Abhishek Das, Sharanya Mukherjee, Maharaja Caterers, Disappearing Dialogues, Jaladarsha Collective, Raju Shaw-Papri Chaat dada 

for Pickle Jam:
Solanki Rahaman, Aantika Roy, Soumi Chatterji, Satyaki Bhowmik, Soutik Chakraborty (FATTY), Prasanta Karmakar, Debannita Sharma, Debadrita Bhaduri, Anushka Chatterjee, Abrar Saqib, Sourami Mukherjee, Papiya Sarkar, Tithi Das, Ahana Chatterjee, Kavya Talwar, Raghav Agarwal, Sujal Shonkar, Minaz , Debasmit Ghosh, Tania Adhikary, Srestha Das Choudhury, Surajit Khanra

for Platform Performances
Srijani Adhikary, Pramugdha Das, Priyosree Mondal, Ena Banerjee, Monisha Adhikary, Prasanta Karmakar, Poulami Pramanik, Aayush Thakur, Meheli, Srishti, Trisha, Ishika, Anwita, Ahana, Ritoja, Debasmit Ghosh, Solanki Rahman, Satyaki Bhowmick, Jaladarsha Collective (Khyalaghor)

Special thanks to Sandeepan Banerjee, Dwaipayan Banerjee for execution and being with us everyday and Debabrata Mukherjee.

CREDITS

Spaces for Community Team
Curator: Dana Roy
Month Coordinators: Dana Roy and Amlan Chaudhuri
Space Design: Katy Lai Roy
Mural Artists: Ashmita Paul, Archee Roy, Abhishek Das, Teesta Brahma, Sharanya Mukherjee Subhadeep De, Debadrita Bhaduri, Turjo, Kaushik Chakraborty, Arka Alam
Technical Provider: Janmenjoy Halder
Construction: Pranab Mazumdar (Tinka da)
Print: Mridul Majumder
Emcee: Dr. Indudipa Sinha
Behala Nutan Dal Committee and Para Community

Programme Partners
Behala Nutan Dal
British Council
Taliesin Arts Centre
Narthaki

Associate Partners
Hooghly Jute Mills
Greenply

Participating Puja Committees
Beliaghata 33 No. Palli Bashi Brinda
Beleghata Sandhani

Pickle Factory Dance Foundation, Calcutta is a not-for-profit
company registered under Section 8 of The Companies Act, 2013.
The company was incorporated on 12 July 2017.

© All images and text are copyright of Pickle Factory except where otherwise specified.
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