Porapara site-specific art camp
The organizers of the Porapara Site-Specific Art Camp 2009, exemplify their recently concluded programme as a search for options for a total of 25 participants to discover their ‘true selves’ through the process of creativity within the context of a new ‘environmental space’. And that space was a remote village in Khagrachhory in the Chittagong Hill Tracts district.
The ecological backdrop– the river Cengi, the wide-open rice fields on its banks, and the verdant hills that encase the area – set the stage for a renewal of the commitment to restore the primordial bond, or call it the primeval communion -- between human and nature.
To tap the energy of the very spring-well of life, the artists came together to express what was natural in their selves. While the villagers were busy harvesting the seasonal crops, at the camp, the artists concentrated on projects with the aim of leaving some signs of contemplation behind on the surface-area of the ‘earth’ they explored.
The outcome of the camp was one of aesthetic significance, one that originated from back-to-basic naturalness that infected all who gathered to take a fresh attempt at art-making. Some compelling expressions testify to the depth of engagement on the part of the artists, making the time spent in the workshop worthwhile. The results undoubtedly provided for some stimulating experiences, which the participants will be able to fall back upon in future.
Diversity was an important aspect of what went on in the form of performances and installations. That many a work depended heavily on the logic of a dialogic mode, one which rarely finds expression in the urban climate, also helped to ensure the success of the venture. To sum it all up in one sentence: the workshop played a catalytic role in restoring the link between nature and humans, and also between materials and minds.
Of these site-specific installations and performances, quite a few– because of the process-oriented nature– display a kinship with what is known as ‘land art’. Only a few artists engaged themselves in doing some photographic and video works, projects that are now being dubbed as New Media art.
However, it is the distance form the technologically defined terrain which made some of the works completed during the workshop so fervently expressive of the relationship between nature and humans.
The five-day-long workshop took place in the village Khamar Para from 1 to 5 December, 2009.
Porapara is an artists-led nonprofit organization based in Chittagong.