“I have known rivers..I have known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers….” wrote the American poet Langston Hughes in his poem Negro Speaks of Rivers.
Here through GOWRY ART INSTITUTE, we pay a humble homage to that eternal river of human creativity that finds expression as lines, words, colours, sounds and shapes. And we build bridges too among arts of every kind and communities of painters, writers, sculptors, musicians, photographers, film makers, all categories of practising artists of the world.
And underneath that river, like the fire inside the water imagined in the Indian traditions of art and though, is the undying glow of feminine energy that takes many forms and hues in nature as well as art.
That fire was at the core of renowned artist and founder-director Sajitha Shankar’s dream which ;has today taken form as the GOWRY ART INSTITUTE. The dream arose from her own studio in Kallar, which stands on a unique location on the banks of the Vamanapuram river, over which rises the sacred Agastyar mountains. The dream was about a creative space that would be more of a room for all than a “room of one’s own”. It would be a space of synergy, of synthesis, of dialogue between those who are courageous enough to push the boundaries of art and challenge the aesthetics of conformity.,
The institute was registered in 2007 but it took shape through discussions with artists, activists and academics in India, UK, France and Germany; and more than anything through the deep friendship between Sajitha and writer and activist Amrit Wilson and their shared ideas and passion for art and feminism.
GOWRY ART is primarily dedicated to the promotion of visual arts with a special focus on women artists. In India, Amrita Sher Gill Shobha Broota, Saroj Pal Gogi, Arpana Caur, Anjolie Ela Menon, Padmini, Arpita Singh, Madhavi Parekh, Anju Dodiya, Neelima Sheikh, Pushpamala, Rekha Rodwittya, Antia Dubey, Kanchan Chander, Kavita Nayar and Sajitha herself have enriched women’s expression by exploring the female body and self, bny creating realist, impressionist, surrealist and abstract modes in superficially Indian ways.
At the heart of the institute’s creatiave wellspring ;is the idea of meditating on femininity by exploring the sensibilities, emotions and insights which are rooted specifically in women’s inner lives and experiences; of seeking out creative linkages between this reclaimed ‘femininity, and Prakriti (Nature) and of intuiting a new aesthetics of the feminine through the flow-maps of Prakriti.
Although the institute is focused on visual arts, GOWRY ART welcomes filmmakers, writers, poets, musicians, and photographers. We envision tha t the confluence of a very different creative energies will release new and unexpected synergies. Artists whose talents are unacknowledged in mainstream aesthetic norms are particularly welcome. The residencies and all other activities will be open to men and women alike.
GOWRY ART aims to keep live a dynamic space for a creative interaction. The institute will hold activities to initiate dialogues between the participants, organize gallery shows and / or screenings in the city. Conduct art camps, promote art education, offer fellowships / scholarships and free residencies Long-term projects include an art gallery in the city, digital documentation of artists’ contributions, and digital archives.
GOWRY ART is a non-plrofit organisation free from commercial intentions. It is not allied to any political party or formation and will not accept direct or indirect corporate support or sponsorship. The ;intention ;is to make it a self-reliant institution with the income it generates through the residencies and contributions from supportive individuals and organizations.
GOWRY ART hopes to create national and international bridges for dialogue and interaction. In this increasingly globalised world it is an endeavour to develop shared goals outside the canvas. The support and encouragement of many artists in the formative years of GOWRY ART has been extraordinary. Their solidarity has been us though this far. We hope it will continue to illuminative the way ahead.
GOWRY ART is dedicated to the ;memory of two great creative artists. Writer and poet Kamala Surayya and dancer Chandralekha. Whose creative struggles and explorations continue to inspire us.
Sajitha Shankar – Founder– Director
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GOWRY ART INSTITUTE
26 Kallar PO., Vithura via, Ponmudi Road
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India 695551
Mobile: +91 9968127564, +91 9656735273