OLGA IN CHANDIGARH
documentation of the 2016 Morni Hills Performance Art Biennale - 3 - 20 Feb 2016
Morni Hills, Village Ladog, Morni Hills, Badisher, Haryana
Director - Harpreet Singh (Morni Hills, Chandigarh - India, Auckland - Aotearoa New Zealand)
Curated by Adriana Disman (Montreal, Canada)
JO BOL SO NIHAL, SAT SRI AKAL!
On arrival at Chandigarh airport, I had the very good fortune of meeting one of the best people in the world, Amandeep a very close friend of Harpreet's. Also I met his other good buddy, DP Singh. Wild and wonderful weaving through the traffic with off-roader fanatic, Amandeep, he called Harpreet by his familiar name 'Harry' and he did it in the voice of Marv, the other part of the idiotic dastardly duo on Home Alone Marv and Harry. Its the part where Marv gets thoked in the head a number of times with bricks and is semi-conscious on the pavement calling out for Harry. That bit. Well Amandeep started saying 'Haaarry' and I just knew that he was definitely a new pal of mine. I was so fortunate to have met Amandeep!
Harpreet Singh, Director/ Parent of Healing Hill Artist Residency is inspired. I personally consider what he devised as a blend of spiritual retreat and pure art. An extremely rare blend in my experience in my thirty years as an artist. Not to labour the point, but he is what I would call a mystic, leaving the bustling cities and creating a space for himself and other artists to retreat, consider, energise and to make. The term of 'Shaman' could be used, but I feel it has been tainted somewhat by Western art history and needs to be re-appropriated to its former use which I believe is then close to describing Mr. Harpreet (as the students called him). Shaman or in my language of Samoan Tufuga (said - tu-foo-nga) is basically the same thing. The human conduit between this human realm and the realm of the divine, they are able to pass on knowledge, and re-route energies and thoughts from divine space while remaining grounded. Not necessarily a mystic, but similar in that their pathways though life operate on 'higher' or different planes to most of us.
While this might appear to be imposing my own thoughts upon Harpreet, I think that clumsy language is the only way I can articulate my admiration and respect for the vision of this man. I will unpack a few now while my fingertips are connected to my brain.
Between Auckland and Chandigarh, Harpreet (Harry) Singh has formed a bridge. He has lived and worked in Auckland and in various academic institutions in India as a lecturer in art / art history. What strikes me most about Harry, is that his intellect is abundant and that his vision to create a place where art - particularly PERFORMANCE ART has found a place to be honoured and activated outside the Western art gallery and museum machine, whilst still managing to cooperate with both. KHOJ began in New Delhi in 1997 and has successfully managed to attract national and international artists since then. HHAR and MHPAB in Badisher, Haryana outiside of Chandigarh is a new gem in the crown of India's contemporary art scene.
got to have lunch now... to be continued.
Speaking of lunch and food, we were so very privileged to have chefs from the surrounding villages creating culinary Ayurvedic healing foods for us morning noon and night. So incredible and sumptuous.
The team of Morni Hills as I got to know them were:
Founder: Harpreet Singh.
Creative Director - Gustaf Broms
Curators - Adriana Disman & Harpreet Singh
Coordinator - Mohan Jangid
Assistant Coordinators - Subhendu Misra & Renu Bariwal
Amandeep (lives in Chandigarh) - photographer, off-road rally driver, trusted friend and confidant.
Boss man - Rameshwar Singh
Ashok Kumar - Chef
Hiralal Thakur - Chef
Hiralal Ramji - technician
Prem Singh - preparator
Sri Krishan - preparator and technician
Graphic Design - Gulzar Singh , Sidharath Goswami & Harpreet Singh
Photography / Videography - Girish Naphade
Sam Ford – England
Dirk Thorthworth- Germany
Biljana Bosnjakovic - Italy/ Serbia
Jessica Borusky – USA
DP Singh – India
Amandeep Singh – India
Ellie Bullock – England
The two main venues for our performative actions were impromptu works at Healing Hills Residency, Government Museum and Art Gallery of Chandigarh and Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Kurukshretra, Kurukshretra.
The Biennale was divided into two groupings of performance artists:
from 3 - 10 February the artists were:
Adriana Disman (Canada)
Bilijana Bosnjakovic (Italy/ Serbia)
Daniella Beltrani (Singapore/ Italy)
Atache Desarts with Dirk Thorwarth (Germany)
Gustaf Broms (Sweden)
Helena Goldwater (England)
Ellie Johnson-Bullock and Sam Ford (England)
Ivan Lupi (England)
Parag Sonoghare (India)
Jeetin Rangher (India)
Red Bind - Gilivanka Kedzior + Barbara Friedman (France)
Tara Goudarzi + Razieh Goudarzi (Iran)
Viviana Druga (Berlin/ Transylvania)
Leafa Wilson (Aotearoa/ Samoa)
and the next grouping of artists:
Jessica Borusky (USA)
Audrey Baldwin (AO-NZ)
Oprajita Sumi (Bangladesh)
B Ajay Sharma (India)
Beate Linne (Germany)
Gim Gwang Cheol (S.Korea)
Pinar Derin Gencer (Turkey)
Rocio Boliver (Mexico)
Roi Vaara (Finland)
Sheree Rose (USA)
Tina Eskilson (Sweden)
Tomasz Szrarma (Finland)
Anna Kosarewska (Ukrain/ Poland)
Nikita Maheshwary (India)
Guest Presentations by
Paramita Das - artist and filmmaker (India and Nowhere)
Georgina Maddox (India)
Part II - Them Thar Hills...
Arriving at night in Morni Hills meant that all that I could see what appeared to be stars... everyone who'd arrived before me told me to just be prepared for the amazing sight that awaited me in the light of day.
After an evening of getting to know other artists and the staff I went to my little room, ROOM 3 at The Healing Hills Art Collective. I awoke around 6.00 in the morning urgently needing to go... but before I got there, the open door to the outside apprehended me with a present. The first view across Morni Hills.
Here's a link to my performance art works made in Morni Hills, Kurukshretra University and Chandigahr Museum (also past works and collaborations)