Belper based artist Ivan Smith put together an international artist residency project from 1 - 18 May 2009. Over the past six years over 250 artists have come together at the Sandarbh workshop in India and have created many works with the participation of local people, which has created a genuine interest and curiousness about art, and how society and art can come together. This was the first reciprocal residency in Derbyshire.
Artists: Ivan Smith (UK), Laura White (UK), Francis Gomila (UK/DE), Lata Upadhyaya (UK/IND), Anke Mellin (DE), Istvan Eross (HUN), Chintan Upadhyay (IND), Llu Po-Chun (TAW), Tsai Kun-Lin (TAW), Dong-Hun Sung (S KOR), Alvaro Verduzco (MEX), Abby Manock (US)
Sandarbh in Hindi means 'situation' and 'context'; and by being together at one given place for a period of time itself creates such a situation/context, and therefore Sandarbh is where the artists are!
Sandarbh, is a rural participatory workshop which started in India seven years ago with a single goal in mind to bring artists together and for them to work in a rural environment to create a bridge between the urban and rural populace, especially in the context of India where there is a stark contrast in exposure and education between the rural and urban population. Can Art work as a bridge? Can participation and collaboration by local communities and artists create some sort of opportunity, through which both develop and grow? The Art world acts almost exclusively within the circles of a white cube; Sandarbh aims to make art a part of the everyday by bringing it to people and their neighborhoods.
Sandarbh UK attempts to address the question of what is Art in one fundamental way; can we learn/create something new by being together? In this modern world of high pace technology where virtual and real seem to be converging, of extreme social and economic disparities and degradation of the global environment, can we be together and learn something new?
Sandarbh UK invited artists to break out of the clutches of conventional thinking and to adopt a spontaneous approach; by coming to the residency without any pre-conceived ideas, artists were able use locally available materials and execute their work in context to the conditions and environment that they find themselves placed in.
As part of the residency an exhibition of the actual works took place, giving the local residents and wider audiences the opportunity to engage with the work and hear what the artists were thinking in developing the work.