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The HAT Project 2006/07 is supporting 20 exchange fellowships between England, South Asia and Australia

Tanvi Kant

Residency at Arts Reverie

week five

Posted by Tanvi Kant on 21st March 2008


Happy and sort of healthy, we are working away now. I have felt I needed to set up a space, I've chosen the top floor, next to the terrace. I start with drawing which carried on for a few days. I tend to draw things or doodles that often don't look like my work, exploring line, colour, scale, detail, rhythm, space.. this helps if I have a mental block when making. I'm not sure what I want to achieve or say by making something right now, so, I'm just doing line drawings and marks with watercolour.

In between

We have errands, like picking up my glasses from the opticians right on the other side of the city before our visit to the doctors. Everything is well and Anne has some interesting souvenirs to take back home. I also visit an indian fashion showroom, not impressed by their jewellery, but the dresses were okay. I had a great sales assistant, who had really good taste! Usually they show you the wrong colours and patterns, but I started by saying I was not interested in anything that was in this year and not the next, he understood me pretty well.

Chocolate cake

next is a rickshaw ride for the lovely shop I visited earlier on, there is a sale, but I didn't see anything I would want myself. However, the cafe opposite is where I indulge in a warm and rich chocolate cake (eggless) then when Rosa arrives as I am finishing my cake, I also have some ice-cream covered in chocolate sauce. We then meet Susan and Michael who do purchase a few outfits in wonderful colours. Not sure about wearing them on the streets on NY, I think they will be lounging around the house outfits. The bookstore also in the same building, underground, has a good collection of design magazines, so I will need to make another visit.


I was researching a few things, when I came across a few interesting points which I felt a resonance with. Sometimes I feel a bit lost about which direction to go but actually when I really sit and think, I've always known. Having too much choice is maybe just as difficult as not having a choice sometimes; although, I prefer having too much choice. Some people have no choice in what they want to do, where they want to go or how - like many of the people I have met here, most yearn for a better life without realising what they have is actually pretty special - though many have no other experiences to go on, so how can they possibly see this? I feel very lucky to have had the experiences I have had to be able to make my own choices in life, some cultural, some professional and mostly my personal choices.

In the same way, I feel my work can become anything I want it to be. Working alone, to my own pattern and making what I wish to make is a privilege. Though hard work really needs to be there to make it work and keep going. Being adaptable is crucial. I'm learning about what it is I want to do - really do, all the time. Its so easy to be distracted when you don't take the time to stop and reflect on things.

I make a phone call to speak to a lady I want to meet in Kutch. The hotel is booked and I'm planning three full days in Bhuj as my base and from there I will visit two organisations who work with various craftspeople. I can also visit craftspeople and collectors I first met last year. So some new and some old contacts to see.

Kutch is probably the best region in the country for me for the type of craft its people have created and which a few are still creating today. Also, even thought I don't understand the language, most can speak and understand Gujarati. This is one of the things I mean by being lucky to have experiences that give me more choice, here its by being able to communicate so much more easily, and also having the understanding of certain cultural nuances that would otherwise be missed. It enables me to gain much more.


We meet for lunch with the young designer and his friend who lectures on fashion illustration on the fashion course at NIFT Ghandinagar, where we first met him there a few weeks ago. He also paints, which I really liked.

After lunch, we walk around the famous screen - the intricate stone carved jali - and see some mosaic put down for advertising. just nearby for the underground market. We carry on towards teen darwaja or three gates, where the streets are filled with markets selling all kinds of things. objects for rituals, utensils, buckets, tacky ornaments, bags, fake flowers, hardware stores, fabrics,'s really hot and I am tired, but it was good. The main reason to come here was that our friends were wanting to meet with a machine embroiderer and a place which sells vegetable dyed block-printed/bhandini and other fabrics.

Vishala and the Disco Rickshaw

The girls go out for the night and we have a great time at Vishala, this time I see more of the entertainment. A full puppet show, singing and some party tricks by the rajasthani entertainers. On the way back one of the puppet sellers actually knows our friend and he asks if he can have some prints of the pictures she took of him at a function that was put on where they were dressed as horses. Anyway, he also helps us to a rickshaw as we are bit out of the city. At the end of the road are the rickshaws, a small crowd gathers around us as we sit in his friends' rickshaw. Now there's about what seems like 30 of them around us all getting very excited. The rickshaw has a bright blue light, a small vase at the back with three fake flowers and three speakers set in. Then the music starts as we agree on the fare......oh my gosh. The music is really loud and I recognise it as late eighties, early ninties film songs, very romantic and pretty cheesy, but kind of cool too.


In the evening, after dinner, four of us get in a rickshaw to see a hindi film at a cinema housed in a mall. There's a lot of energy in that part of the city, reminiscent of large cities anywhere with all the neon lights, traffic, crowds of people outside shops and little stalls selling..stuff, and food places - lots of food places.

Drive-in Cinema

Visiting family friends, I join them for an evening out with their two young boys to see the same film, but actually the boys were more entertainment this time. The front, near the screen is made up of lawns where the families can picnic and the children run around screaming their heads off and splashing about near the fountain right near the front. Then there are dozens of rows of seating leading to the back where the cars are. It was really dusty as everyone was leaving. It was a lovely evening and I am really pleased to have experienced it.