For a fellowship that enables research into the archives of Hemango Biswas with particular focus on the music, communication and collaboration between the two icons of the Assam IPTA movement, Hemango Biswas and Bhupen Hazarika. The research will focus on the period during the linguistic riots in Assam in the 1950s and 1960s, and unearth the important contribution that these two musicians made in confronting the conflict. The outcomes will be a monograph, and a CD/DVD recording of three important songs with genre-specific instruments and other political songs by Biswas and Hazarika.
For a grant supporting the creation of multiple artistic interpretations of Nabarun Bhattacharya’s novel Lubdhak. A graphic novel which will serve as a script for a feature length stop motion animation film later, will be created in the process. An electronic version of the graphic novel and a prototype of a short film for the animation will also be made. Grant funds will cover travel and food costs, material, props and lighting costs, professional fees, studio rental, documentation and an accountant’s fee.
For research into visual arts and other cultural forms associated with the notion of representing the landscape of the Rahr (red soil) region of the district of Birbhum, West Bengal. The project will critically engage with the methodology of documentation as collective recollection. Through a dialogic method of archiving these practices, the researcher will engage in workshops with various scholars and practitioners of the region. The outcome of this project will be a visual book of images and processes of the workshops at the six locations.
For research into the history of contemporary dance in Bengal, through the journeys of feminist dancer-choreographers Manjusri Chaki Sircar and Ranjabati Sircar. Focusing on the social, political and personal histories of the dancers, the study will explore their interventions in the practice as they drew from medieval inheritances, colonial legacies and postcolonial promises to create new languages for dance. The outcome of this project will be a monograph.
For artistically representing the untold private lives of veteran Jatra artists, photographed while performing their beloved characters in costume within their quotidian environments. While the photographs push the boundaries of documentation and performance, raising questions about history and authenticity, they are also witnesses of the transforming face of Jatra. The outcome will be an exhibition of these photographs where some Jatra artists will talk about their experiences dressed as characters.
For working with the cultural history archive at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta (CSSSC) which contains a wide variety of visual materials from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Bengal that includes books, journals, popular paintings, prints, posters, hoardings, advertisements and commercial art productions. Sujaan will trace the two-century-old history of tourism in Calcutta and focus on the ways in which the city has been represented by and for the ‘outsider’. The outcome could take various forms such as a curated guided tour, a guidebook, and a digital map that represents the different histories of Calcutta’s heritage.
For a series of workshops with the multiethnic communities of the eastern Himalayan regions of Sikkim and northern parts of West Bengal. It is a collaborative and multidisciplinary project that involves local music, myths and traditions dealt with in a manner that pushes the artistic boundaries of cinema. Described as an ‘interdependent cinema project’, the workshops will lead to a film, a graphic novel, a music album and finally a documentary installation exhibition.
For a series of workshops culminating in a two-day public art festival in the Chitpur locality of old Kolkata. These workshops are designed to re-energise and activate this locality which has a rich history and heritage, through various cultural activities, innovative audience engagement and archiving with the help of local residents, businessmen, artists, craftsmen, teachers and students. Outcomes of the project will include a website, an exhibition and a DVD documenting the process.
For research into the field recordings, texts and photographs of the Dutch ethnomusicologist Arnold Bake, during his time in Bengal from 1925 to 1934. Based on this archival material gathered from various archives in India and abroad, she will construct histories of music and portraits of people and places, thus adding to and energising the existing archive for folk music, 'The Travelling Archive'. The outcomes will be an exhibition and a book.
For the creation of a solo performance based Shurpanakha in the Ramayana, incorporating different readings of this enigmatic character—as a shape shifting raksashi, a beautiful woman, and a victim of patriarchal norms—found in various versions of the epic. The performance will include new songs in Braj, a local dialect of Hindi and create a movement vocabulary extending beyond the traditional repertoire of Kathak.