E(art)h forms

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The historic and beautiful Gauhar Mahal of Bhopal was a transformed sight during the last week of November 2012. The recently concluded “Potters’ Market” brought together potters from across the country and was a treat for the artist, the connoisseur and the layman in equal measure.

Clay has somehow always attracted man, across centuries, from handicraft to ceramics, sculpture to simple tools used in everyday life. In France, potters markets are well known and held all over the country, with very famous clusters in South of France, where large festivals during summer celebrate the arts of the Earth. In Bhopal however, the sight is even more spectacular and original as the event was set in the rustic backdrop of Gauhar Mahal, the perfect venue. Gauhar Mahal  is situated on the banks of the upper lake and is a magnificent example of the fusion of Hindu and Mughal architecture that was in existence in Bhopal in the 19th century.

The Potters' Market against the backdrop of Gauhar Mahal in Bhopal

Lovers of art who attended the event were not limited to the local city of Bhopal, but drove or flew in from cities such as Indore, Delhi and Mumbai. The event attracted 32 potters from all over India and three participants from Dubai as well.  Many workshops ensured better understanding of the art of working with clay.

The organizer of the event, Sonia Rashid, having taken to pottery herself 20 years ago, expressed her delight & contentment at the well attended event and said that such events provided a platform for the potters to not only exhibit their creations but also to find buyers to appreciate and encourage their art form.  She hoped to put it on a national forum and have potters from all over the world come together.

Sonia also shared some interesting practices prevalent in certain states in the country. One such strange custom prevails in Manipur where the woman is not allowed to touch the wheel as she is considered unclean. She moves around the wheel and gives the clay the desired shape but without direct physical contact with the clay.

The Potters' Market at Gauhar Mahal, Bhopal

A few participants, with diverse backgrounds  shared their experiences with clay and what it meant to be connected to this medium of self expression:
Mudita Bhandari, a potter from Indore, who has formally graduated in this art form from Shantiniketan in Kolkata and has been working with clay for the last 12 years,  sharing her experience said, “I am in a different world when I am with clay… more complete more involved, more evolved, more refreshed, more ready to experience the next moment of life, of my being… it is not me making alone but the clay working along with me and making with me.”

 Anubha from Bangalore took to pottery 3 years ago as a hobby. Having learnt from various artistes from Delhi and Kangra (Himachal Pradesh), she finds it fulfilling and exciting when people see in her creations, what she  sees in them.

 54 year old Sultana Khan’s tryst with pottery is inspiring indeed. Having shut her various businesses, she took to pottery at the age of 50. Being passionate about this art form, she enrolled her son in a summer course for pottery in Mumbai and attended it with him. The rest, as they say, is history.

 A true alchemy, this art form not only transforms an ordinary piece of clay into exotic forms, but the direct connect with the Earth completely transforms & transmutes the individual, liberating & grounding him & bringing him closer to the essence of his being.

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Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...