Re-Contextualising Azrakh Traditions in Contemporary Art and Craft
To draw from Parapolitics: Toward the City of Man, can modern societies become genuine moral communities? According to Gandhi, they can. Gandhi’s vision of a Sarvodayan society is embryonic, but nonetheless engaging and stimulating, defining traditions and duties clearly for individuals with the Swadharma theory.
“I learnt from my illiterate but wise mother that all rights to be deserved and preserved came from duty well done. Thus, the very right to live accrues to us only when we do the duty of citizenship of the world. From this one fundamental statement, perhaps it is easy enough to define the duties of Man and of Woman and correlate every right to some corresponding duty to be first performed”
Mahatma Gandhi wrote to Julian Huxley, Director General, UNESCO (May 1947)
Exploring salt as a symbol of non-violence and investigating the sarvodaya theory in the practice of nonviolence, tolerance, peace and harmony through the narratives of swadeshi politics, these works will draw upon the history of India’s colonial past and Mahatma Gandhi’s 1930 Dandi March, which began the Salt Satyagraha and became an important part of the Indian independence movement.
In her new series, ‘Salt: The Great march 2013’, artist Shelly Jyoti explores the possibilities of establishing alternative societies where Gandhian ideals of ‘swadharma’ and ‘sarvodaya’ could be adhered to and sustained with sincere implementation. In a society where patriarchal values threaten the free existence of women, the artist feels that re-introducing Gandhian ideals with critical changes would function as a correctional force.
This new complementary body of works are complementary are continuation of Jyoti’s earlier series, ‘INDIGO Neel Darpan’. Neel Darpan (1860) is a literary text, symbolic of yet another anti-colonial, nonviolence movement that took place in 1917-18 as ‘champaran’ movement for indigo farmers in India.
Shelly Jyoti’s new works feature a large khadi fabric with Sanskrit calligraphic print as a site specific installation, two sculptural installations of khadi yarn (aatis) and pipe cleaners, twenty five contemporary artworks with azrakh dyeing/ printing incorporating needle work on khadi fabric and multimedia spoken poetry.