Country Artists

Negotiating Routes: Ecologies of the Byways III February – June 2012

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Negotiating Routes: Ecologies of the Byways is a project inviting reflection by artists on the anxieties embodied by the rank infrastructural development across India and its uncomfortable coexistence with local ecologies.

Now in its third year, the project has invited artists, collectives and other professionals to develop projects that are site-specific and have an inter-disciplinary approach. Mapping various sites across the country, artists and communities have come together to discuss the regeneration of the environments they inhabit. The project encourages the archiving of local knowledge and mythologies, flora, fauna, home remedies, stories and folklore as integral to the specific artist’s intervention.

This years ongoing projects are:

NR 9: Akshay Rathore and Flora Boillot (Aulinjaa Village, Madhya Pradesh)

Abstract Reality: A Visual Perspective on the Organic Movement in Madhya Pradesh

NR 10: Priya Ravish Mehra (Najibabad, District Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh)

Making the Invisible Visible: The Darning Tradition of India

NR 11: Uma Ray (Domahani, District Jamshedpur, Jharkhand)

Where the River Meets its People

 For more information about the event and the ongoing projects , please click here.

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Windows of opportunity: artists taking over retail space

Based on that story a couple of weeks ago on the RSA Arts & Ecology website, I have this feature in the current New Statesman:

There’s a hint of tumbleweed blowing down the nation’s high streets. Behind the headline-worthy collapses of Woolworths and MFI are the disappearances of hundreds of smaller shops. By the end of 2009, the analyst Experian predicts, one in six UK shops will have closed down. Not only will the effect on employment be catastrophic, the projected 135,000 vacancies will not be good for the health of town centres – empty shopfronts quickly multiply.

Yet what is grim news for some may prove a bonus for artists.

From the abandoned warehouses of Shoreditch in east London to the empty apartments of Berlin, we know artists gravitate to disused space, and have been successful in transforming it. Can art now drive the regeneration of slack retail space by turning it into a low-cost cultural playground?

In Durham, Carlo Viglianisi and Nick Malyan, an artist and an art fan, both in their early twenties, took over the lease to a disused off-licence in December last year and reopened it as Empty Shop (, a gallery and creative centre where local sixth-form college students can go for media and art classes. “The local response has been fantastic,” says Viglianisi.

They are far from alone. Across the country, artists and would-be gallerists have been having the same idea, seemingly quite spontaneously. This January in Brent, a group of artists formed Wasted Spaces; they are holding their first show in a vacant retail space in Wembley this summer. In Halifax, another group has taken on an empty unit at the Piece Hall and opened Temporary Art Space (, which will run for six months…

See the rest of the feature here.

Photo by Tony Knox.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology