PROCESS: Sewadham Ashram is a lifetime shelter and rehabilitation center for the homeless, helpless, disabled and destitute where caring is for all without any discrimination of caste, creed, region, age and sex.
While working in Ujjain, India I was given the opportunity to volunteer and work with the women at Sewhadham, where I spent hours sitting and being with them. with them. Great as this might appear the women have limited access to the outside, any extra activities, let alone creativity. Originally I would simply chated and sat with the women communicating through an interpreter with minimal connection or understanding. As I sat with the women I realized my great connection is my art.and creative thinking. What is cheap, creative and doable anywhere. So I began bringing in colouring books for the bedridden elderly women and children and chalk for all the women. (Chalk has many benefits, cheap, can be washed away or simply erased.
During the weeks I was visiting I noticed the colouring books were full of pictures that the residents could not relate: ballons, rocketships, brick houses, cats basically images that had no relevence to the women and children at rural India.
While sitting and watching I started documenting the drawings before they disappeared. They were imaginative, culturally informed, playfull and relevant.
THE RESULT: I simple series of colouring books drawn by the women. Coloring books, made by the women for the women and children that are local and relevent.
The books bridged the 2 womens facilities. The books became relevent coloring books for the children. The books worked as a fund raiser for Sewadham Ashram. The books are a a sense of pride and inspiration
Rural India, Ujjain a pilgrimage city.
The city of Ujjain, located on the banks of the Kshipra River in Madhya Pradesh, is one of the most ancient Indian cities, smack in the middle of rural lndia. Povery and religion dominate.
Working at a new Indian university I spent months in the main town of Ujjain and rural villages near Lekoda. I would walk and bike along the roads and paths in the early morning or evening..
As an outsider I assumed (rightly or wrongly) that life was pretty shitty for most of the street dwellers, transient workers and villagers. Many had little and I wondered what could I contribute without a colonialist, imperialist bias. I wondered if I could give them something small, portable and concrete, while making a beginning link between us. Photobombing.
Over a 6 months period I walked, ran and biked taking 100’s of photos. Each person photgraphed was given a printed copy. If I could not find them later I would leave the photos posted where I had taken them.
The results were engaging and diverse. People came and went. Some bought their families to bus stops to be photgraphed. Others connected me with friends and families. Some were just happy for a family photo.
“Act so the effects of your actions are compatible with the permance of human life, “ Hans Jonas
street worker animation
2007 - PP
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