Participating artists and projects

Artists, activists and you!

Suresh Jayaram
Raghu Tenkayala
1.Shanthi Road

Elisabeth Lengheimer, Salon Emmer
Tanja Dinter, Salon Emmer
Deepak Srinivasan, Maraa

Mittwoch, 21. Juli 2010

Freitag, 2. Juli 2010

around a tree brings you an evening of Kabir songs

around a tree, an urban tree festival brings you,
Gyaan Ki Jadiyaan
Roots of Wisdom
Songs of Kabir that evoke inner and outer ecologies

3rd July, 5.00pm
Bandstand, Cubbon Park

Shabnam Virmani
Shabnam Virmani is a filmmaker and artist and has documented the lives and work of artists and music practitioners from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Pakistan for a series of films on Kabir
call Deepak on 9343763497 for details
Bring mats to sit on the lawn & enjoy the music and umbrellas to enjoy the drizzle if any!

image credit: Mishta Roy

Moving In-between- a participative public art installation

around a tree brings you,

Moving In-between,
a participative public art installation
11am, Sat, 3rd July
Sampige Road near mantri mall
led by Pallavi and Mithila

note from the artist
thoughts meander...and respond to change

as a commoner amongst 20,000 thousand other people in the city, i move in buses, autos, bikes and cars to various lanes covering the never ending length and breath of the ever growing Bangalore. Changing it to Bengaluru only harshly reminds you of a past with wide roads, greener trees and modest city. The change in name not only shuns memory of a colonial past but also reminds one to look at what surrounds us here and now.
I don't mean to point fingers and throw howling baggages at anyone. The city, my city as I see it, is changing!

Definitions have evolved. More and more people have come in and we have extended into disappearing lakes and drying fields. Concrete parks with hanging bridges awaits us...rather we wait for the traffic to move.

While we're made to wait..we're forced to think...about the smiling billboards overpowering the tin sheets.

Change - Inevitable - we all know it. Let’s not brood over nostalgia and lash out on the migrants. It was changing then and it's changing now. But it's the's too fast.

Trees have been the source of memory, inspiration and identity for Bangalore, but with massive changes in the infrastructure, a severe loss of the urban majestic greenwood is being experienced and grieved. and one such are the sampige trees on sampige road.

'Sampige road', 'Sampige threatre' gets it's name from the trees laid across the road that stretches to a few kilometers. With the new mall, the traffic over powers the trees and the road has extended beyond the trees. They now stand as barriers, while the two-wheelers, cars and buses move in-between the trees causing much worry for both the drivers and the traffic cops. there are no confirmed details on whether or not these trees are 'marked' to be cut. But a definite fear.

the installation is a mere thread to collect and connect responses. whether it's to the tree or the people behind the axe.
medium - kora cloth, black paint and brush - paint your thoughts, slogans, songs, etc and tie them around the trees.


Dienstag, 29. Juni 2010

Krumbiegel Project

Mr.Krumbiegel at his office inside Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore
Mr.Krumbiegel with his daughters at their official residence inside Lalbagh
A sketch of Mr. Krumbiegel- 1940

Picture Courtesy : Dawn Willmott

This project focuses on Gustav Herman Krumbiegel,(1865-1956) who is a horticulturist and an one of the chief architects of Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. His contribution is very important and is significant in creating an identity of a Garden city for Bangalore. He introduced several exotic trees into Bangalore and curated the planting of species that flowered serially and was called “serial blossoming”. The research on him is fragmentary and will need more inputs from different sources for a comprehensive presentation about his life in India and his involvement here to a larger public. The process will involve sourcing letters, photographs and the construction of landscape and town planning drawings that reflect the making of the garden city and will also highlight the contribution of other distinguished individuals who have contributed to this legacy. We hope to find this information from public and private collections for the exhibition. The project will focus on the environment and heritage of tree species.

A comprehensive study has to be undertaken to establish the contribution of Gustav Krumbiegel through research, documentation and a curated art exhibition. This work will also focus on the environment and the making of the garden city as an ideal utopia, a city envisioned as a planned landscape.

Note on Krumbiegel

It was Krumbiegel’s work at the Gaekwad’s estate at Ooty which brought him into contact with Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar. Krumbiegel joined Mysore State service in 1908 as the Curator of Botanical Gardens at Lalbagh on the retirement of John Cameron. As a result of merger of various parks and gardens, hill stations and other horticultural establishments into the Department of Government Gardens, Krumbiegel’s position was elevated to the cadre of Superintendent, and subsequently, to the post of Director of Horticulture.

His tenure as the Director of Horticulture started with hectic plant introduction activities. He had a keen insight about the methodical development of horticulture, on both aesthetic and commercial lines. His keen interest in arboriculture led to Bangalore’s famed tree lined streets. To raise the reputation of the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, he introduced an incredible number of exotic floras by making global correspondence and contacts. His focus on economic horticultural activity has made Bangalore today a well know centre of floriculture and horticulture.

He served the State as for 25years as “Economic Botanist to Government” till his retirement in 1932. Apart from heading the department he was also instrumental in founding various important cultural institutions like the Mythic Society and Mysore Horticultural Society. After his retirement, he settled at Bangalore and worked as the ‘Landscape Advisor’ to the state of Mysore, till his death in the year 1956, he is buried in Bangalore. The city is indebted to him, except for a road named after him. Unfortunately there is no official public acknowledgement of him or a special publication, and this is an opportunity to work on his unique contribution.
A public awareness through curation of his work and life and an exhibition will include the works of various visual artists who have responded to this research.

Curator and Researcher : Suresh Jayaram
Research Assistant : Raghu Tenkayala

Artists :
Shamayala Nandish
Suresh Kumar,
Dilip da Cunha and Anuradha Mathur
Ayisha Abraham

The contributors for the publication include :

Dilip Da Cunha and Anuradha Mathur
Prof.Suresh Jayaram,
Dr.Hittal Mani
Prof.Dr.Chandan Gowda

Montag, 28. Juni 2010

banni mara and its significance by- Chandra Ravikumar

Our ancestors were intelligent people. More importantly they were wise people. The traditions they devised were imbued with meaning and knowledge that would ensure the well-being of the future of not just humans, but also of all animate and inanimate aspects of this planet. The generations that passed forgot the knowledge, but not the traditions. This is because these traditions are loaded with enjoyment. Often, we encounter strong denunciations of one of our greatest traditions, which are the scores of festivals we celebrate. This is one more exhibition of ignorance. For, every festival we celebrate is a great repository of knowledge, and is also a means to transfer this knowledge through generations. If one foolish generation forgot the knowledge, no matter, it is not completely lost to the next intelligent generation which can recover it from our inherited traditions and festivals; while the wiser generations can use this knowledge to better their lives and our world.

These traditional festivals were made enjoyable in many ways. The gathering together of people, the delicious food, fascinating myths and legends explaining the celebrations, the music and dance, the opportunity to exhibit artistic abilities and the light and colour, help the effortless and natural preservation of these traditions; and also give them the strength to withstand the multifold historical and societal attempts to erase them from our memory.

Here I would like to use the Dassehara festival and our old Mysore tradition of worshipping the Banni Maara to help us know and understand the importance of the Banni tree to the people of our land.

The name PANCHAVATI is familiar to every Indian. It is the place in the forests on the banks of the Narmada river, identified for them by the Sage Agasthya, where Rama and Sita and Lakshmana made their home during their exile. PANCHAVATI also stands for a grove of the five kinds of trees, very sacred to the people of our land. These are the :

Asvatha Mara – the Peepal tree – Ficus religiosa

Bilva Mara – Aegle marmelos

Audambara Mara – the Athi tree – Ficus indica

Nimba Mara – the Neem tree – Azadirachta indica

Shami Mara – the Banni tree – Prosopsis spicegira/Prosopsis cineraria/acaia ferruginea

It is believed that just like some people are gifted with a concentration of certain abilities, so certain places, minerals, plants and animals are also gifted with concentrations of certain qualities. This belief is based on observable, measurable and experienced truths and is not a child of the imagination. The Panchavati trees are a treasure house of health, wealth and happiness for this Earth and the creatures on it, including us people. I am here copy-pasting extracts from other sources, with due acknowledgement, that will explain what I mean. I am duly giving the proper credits for the sources. You are welcome to search in these and other related sources for more information on these trees.

Whenever I read about the continuing massacre of out trees, even these that have been held sacred to our land for thousands of years, I suffer such anger, anguish, and sorrow, that I begin to wonder why these Rakshasas are being allowed to continue to perpetrate this terrible crime. Please do not consider me as unbalanced, but the sheer agony of watching the perpetration of all these horrors and not being able to stop it, makes me often plead,”Are You blind? Are You deaf? Why are You still resting atop that hill? How much more has to happen before You take up arms and come down to destroy this evil? You who were the destroyer of Ignorance personified in the form of Mahishaswara – is the abysmal ignorance of these people too much for even You to destroy?”

The great sages of our ancient land, perceived the immeasurable significance of our trees. The Banni Mara is also known as the VANNI MARAM in the Tamil language. According to the Saiva Siddhantha philosophy and the medical tradition of Siddha Vaidya that was born of it, the BANNI or VANNI tree is associated with the Heat Principle of the Universe. This Cosmic Heat is called RUDRAAGNI and is supposed to emerge from the third eye of SIVA. KARTIKEYA or SUBRAMANYA or SKANDA is the deity who represents this Cosmic Heat . That is why the story says that he was born of the sparks that flew out from Siva’s third eye. And that is why Skanda and Ganesha, representing Heat and Light, are brothers. The BANNI MARA has the power to hold and preserve the Rudra-agni energy in its leaves.

This heat is essential for the existence of Life on this planet as well as for the protection of this life from harmful influences. It is present in the five elements or materials (Panchabhutas) that form all of Creation and the one Life Force (Jeevan) that permeates them. These six aspects of Heat are the six faces of Shanmukha. Therefore Skanda is the Leader of the protective forces of the Universe. His planet or Gruha is Mars, the fiery planet. His day is Tuesday. The plant that is sacred to him and worshipped at all his Sthalas or Sacred Places is the BANNI.

The BANNI is also sacred to Durgaa, in Her role as protector of the world from the Asuras. As the BANNI is the tree that holds the heat of the fire that protects, the Mahabharata says that the Pandavas hid their weapons in a BANNI MARA during the years they had to be in exile incognito.

As the BANNI holds the power of the Cosmic Heat in itself, it is the twig of this tree that is used to start the fire for a Vedic Homa/Yagna. Another name for the BANNI is SAAMI. Do we see the common origin between this Saami and the name Samidha given to the special kinds wood fuel used in fire rituals?

There is a very important group of people called the VANNIYAR in Tamil Nadu. But their community is spread all a cross India going under different names. They trace their descent from the two soldiers who guarded the BANNI MARA in which the Pandavas hid their weapons near the Kingdom of Virata in the North. They are of the Kshatriya caste and became renowned soldiers of the Pallava and later Chola kings. They were the people chosen to be the King’s special protectors. They worship Draupadi. Draupadi herself was born of Fire, says the Mahabharata.

The BANNI is very important in folk-medicine too. I remember my grandmother treating a sudden drop in body temperature during a sickness, with a decoction made from the pods or leaves of the tree.

There is lot more to be said about this beautiful tree. I will cut-paste some extracts from the sources that will tell you more. I hope this bit has been of interest to you and leads you to make further connections.

Pictures from a tree planting Sunday

1.Shanthi Road and Maara collaborated with local residents of Amarjothi Layout of Domlur Bangalore in an outreach programme of tree planting in a vacant plot to be developed as a park in the future. The idea of appropriating public space to convert it into a common park area, is a secular act with ecological and social repercussions.This can be viewed in the context of the depletion of urban environment in the city of Bangalore.

This programme is significant because it involved the local residents to be part of the process of planting, maintaining and nurturing a patch of greenery for the common good. The involvement of the local corporator Mrs. Geeta Srivinasa Reddy also adds a formal and political angle to this event. The participation of young children is significant in changing mindsets about urban ecology for the future.

More than 25 families planted 109 trees!

Mrs.Geetha Reddy kick starting the activity