exploring ephemeral

Embellished tree trunk – coal and eucalyptus leaves

On November 1 I joined a cluster of creative women at Coledale, to participate in a ‘Collaborations with Nature’ ephemeral art workshop presented by Shona Wilson. It was a day of play, also of intense and tiring problem solving as we worked out how to work with the landscape, using no tools but our own bodies (and occasional sharp twigs!). My afternoon work was this embellished tree trunk, and I hope to explore ephemeral art further over the next year, following in Shona’s footsteps with her ‘One a day’ project. The purpose of this is to connect daily with nature in a meditative way, as a spiritual as well as a creative practice. Of course, I can’t mention ephemeral art without referring to the guru – Andy Goldsworthy, long may he reign 🙂

subtext (delhi-kashmir-ladakh)

road workers and prayer stones

subtext – workers 2 (Ladakh)

Travelling in India you can’t help but be struck by the social inequities. The caste system is alive and well. As ‘wealthy’ tourists we are served by many Indian workers, who cannot imagine the lifestyle options that we Westerners enjoy.

Major monuments, old Mughal palaces now open to tourists, are still maintained by an army of low-caste (and minimally paid) labourers, gardeners and construction workers – it resembles modern-day slavery. The roads of Kashmir and Ladakh traverse steep and barren terrain, and road crews camp alongside the roads and perform the necessary maintenance work, in all weathers. What are they thinking when I wave as I ride by?

In these images, taken in Northern India (Delhi, Kashmir and Ladakh), pictures of workers are juxtaposed with local found texts – plaques describing the rich Mughal history, graffitied pavilions and tombs, Buddhist prayer stones and election posters.