The symposium was an accompanying event to Breaking Ground 2018, setting the ground and offering a multidimensional examination of the dynamic nature of the art of clay in the current context. It resulted in a lively, critical and scholarly discourse around ceramic art practice in India.
It consisted of three sessions, exploring the nuances of the medium through a set of lectures and presentations. Each speaker came with a deep insight and experience in various aspects of the material, such as historic, technological and socio-political. Every session was moderated by an expert in the field and concluded with an open discussion.
CLAY AND COMMUNITY
Art and society have always overlapped, both informing and
reacting to the other. Ceramics as a material is rich in history and laden with metaphor. How is the practice of ceramics located within the fabric of community? How have traditional clay crafts evolved to face the challenges of contemporary life? What are the ways in which artists can effectively address issues raised in the context of environmental and socio-political needs?
LOCATING A LANGUAGE AND PRACTICE
The language of clay channels discovery, and social, cultural and personal expression. It offers a nonverbal historic record and holds a mirror to current cultural interactions. This session seeks to evaluate the language of clay in the larger context of art and architecture – methods of dissemination, curatorial perspectives and studio practice.
Ceramics is one of the earliest of human technologies.
Simultaneous discoveries around the world of how fire could
transform clay changed the nature of human life. Even today, it is a means to map trade routes and international networks, and measure the impact of an ever-shrinking globe. How did technology influence the ancient practice of clay and ceramics? And in what way does evolving technology drive change, shift the meaning and
perception of the material, alter its use, and influence practice?
KEITH BRYMMER JONES (UK)
Rolling Clay with Keith (2.46min)
Clap Along with Keith (2.57min)
Keith Encounter (1.37min)
RAJULA SHAH (INDIA)
Katha Loknath (Colour/2012/44 min)
TAN HONGYU (CHINA)
Shifu (Colour/2015/19 mins)
Keith Brymer Jones (UK) is a contemporary designer who started out as the lead singer of a British Punk band, but soon became an apprentice at Harefield Pottery in London. He has created modern ceramics for leading retailers for several years. Sold in several countries, his “Word Range” series, with its gentle humour has acquired a steadily growing fan base. A judge in BBC2 The Great Pottery Throw Down, he is well known for his marketing videos that spoof popular songs – Rolling Clay with Keith and Clap Along with Keith. Keith Encounter, he says is his best video, made to break into the US market, and proving to be very popular.
Rajula Shah (India) has a Diploma in Film Direction from Film & Television Institute of India. She is an independent filmmaker based in Pune. Her films include Sabad Nirantar (2007) and Beyond the Wheel (2005). Rajula also publishes poetry and short stories in various journals. Her poetry collection Parchhain ki Khidki Se was awarded the Navlekhan Puraskar by Bharatiya Jyanpeeth in 2004. She also translates literary work and writes on cinema.
Tan Hongyu (China) (Ayu) is an award-winning filmmaker who has made numerous films on the traditional ceramic making processes of China, as well as documented the work processes of a number of leading ceramicists across the world. Her films include Being with Clay and Shifu.
They survey the socio-political realities of various potter communities as well as the idea of recording an intangible cultural heritage.
BUILDING WITH FIRE
By Ray Meeker
Published by CEPT
The title ‘Building with Fire’ is meant to underline, first and foremost, a technique where fire is introduced into the
construction process, in situ, as ‘cement’ for bonding building elements together permanently and of course to create a water-resistant structure.
But ‘building with fire’ is also meant to suggest the passion
with which these experiments have been undertaken, the element of risk involved in the process and, just as important, the fire Ray inspires in others. Though he has
stopped firing houses, Ray Meeker is still building with fire — still taking immense risk.
Remarks by eminent ceramics
collector Dr Raj Kubba and architect Anupuma Kundoo.
Followed by screening of the film