Somu Desai- Show 2012

This is second year of my association with Gairloch and Ceangal International Art Residency. A few things I learnt about Scottish Highlands in general and Gairloch specifically, during this time has made strong impressions on my sensibility. It is from these impressions that my art works made here originate. One of the visuals that fascinate me the most are the woods and farms that are dotted throughout the Highlands. Then I notice the sheep grazing in the wooded enclosures and farms. A conversation about this landscape eventually leads to references of forcible displacement of significant number of people from Scottish Highlands to make way for ‘agricultural revolution’ in 18th and 19th century. Ironically, I am told, people were removed from vast patches of land for sheep rearing.  One of my work untitled Refers to those events and explores continuing conflict between development of economy and the masses, modernity and personal histories.
Most of us remain curious about ‘other’ cultures of ‘foreign lands and I am no exception to this nor is the local community of Gairloch. Our day today practices and rituals fascinate ‘others’.  In Indian metros we struggle to find quiet paths for people to walk on. The walks there are restricted mostly in small local parks. But here in Highlands, there are many beautiful forest trails for people to enjoy their walks. It is no surprise that ‘walking’ is a kind of cultural ritual in routine Highlands’s life. On the other hand many people who visit India are intrigued by various symbols they see outside and inside Indian homes. For instance, many Hindu families in India mark their house door with a symbol which reads                   ‘Shubh Labh’, a good luck wish for the visitors to the home. Aligning synergies between Scottish and Indian culture is the core of my other work titled SHUBH LABH.

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