We wrote of the first year with wonder, the second with trepidation and now the third with ill fated acceptance. Stuck in an infinity loop, we may be ‘in this together’, but alone. Still fearful, still reclusive.
And yet, still, there is life.
The stillness has led to fermentation; the mind now idle and fertile enough to let thoughts wander through rooms, to let notions burrow deep into recesses and take up residence on our sofas. We look away from the landscape beyond our windows to the spaces that we once shared with none but the closest. We offer up our sanctums daily for voyeuristic pleasure. Everyday objects and spaces take on superhero characteristics; a table becomes the site of exploration; the threshold a portal only the bravest venture from; the screen a tenuous thread of life in the midst of pandemic. We’ve grown accustomed to living in the dichotomy that is the present, while lamenting the lost past, and settling for the new normal.
Originally meant to be a residency in conjunction with a Jungian psychotherapist to analyse and delve into mental health, ‘Still, life' was designed by curator Apurva Kulkarni to function in part as arts therapy. A way for a collective deep dive into the unconscious, to tap into the deep seated font of creativity. Tracing the act of creation, where according to the ethnologist Ellen Dissanayake, “‘making special’ is a biological imperative, and not a cultural marker”. The Residency then functioned as a virtual temenos, a safe and non-judgmental self reflective space, a meeting of minds to share and engage with the weekly prompts that provoked as much as it unnerved. While the pandemic was a “stilling of life”, it was also the perfect storm for a residency that questioned image making: through dialogue, introspection and self reflection.
The works submitted are in direct response to the prompts or creative leads shared during the Residency. They are deeply personal insights, sometimes universal, always true to the creator's truth. The accompanying texts are mere Gateways, providing an entryway to the work, welcoming you to navigate the visual space yourself. Step in, won’t you?
Writer’s note: Explore the Residency and Exhibition pages at leisure, wander the rooms we’ve created for you. The texts on each have developed through conversations with the artists and the curator through the duration of the Residency.