Gandhi Ashram to Vatva: A Journey

This film is a recent iteration of a set of 135 photographs, shot in 2005 in Ahmedabad. It maps a recognizable route that might be familiar to many, while taking note of the re-shaping of the city along the lines of a new imaginary. The original photo-essay was a collaborative exercise undertaken with an activist, Zaid Ahmed Shaikh. Part of an extensive project that was begun in 2002, soon after the communal carnage that year, the Himmat Workshops involved working with a community from Naroda Patiya, one of the worst hit areas in the early months of 2002. The outcome of the project takes different forms – paintings, drawings, prints, posters, photographs and film – depending on the possibilities that were on hand. Their content is inter-textual, and usually presented as an installation that sets up a conversation between different bodies of work, through strong links and motifs that recur and thereby bind the diversity into a coherent whole. An online presentation, or one operating within a set of constraints creates a need to embed these references within a single aspect of the various strands that would normally intersect and together create a web of meaning. The film is an attempt to find a language suited to this necessity as much as it is about traversing the city; something that carries as much weight and ethic as the message that it conveys – indeed the two are inextricably intertwined.

Still from Gandhi Ashram to Vatva - A Journey, (Shah e Alam Darga)

Still from Gandhi Ashram to Vatva - A Journey, (Chandola Lake)

Gandhi Ashram to Vatva – A Journey (Trailer), 2021

Still from Gandhi Ashram to Vatva - A Journey, (Mayur Park, Vatva)

CPB-III Screening Room

Gandhi Ashram to Vatva - A Journey

Duration: 33:39 mins
Language: English
Location: Online & Goethe Institut, Chennai
Days Timings
Wednesdays & Saturdays 11 AM - 6 PM
About the artist

Vasudha Thozhur was born in 1956 in Mysore. She studied at the College of Arts and Crafts, Madras, and at the School of Art and Design in Croydon, UK. Her practice is interdisciplinary but primarily rooted in painting. She lived and worked in Chennai between 1981 – 1997 and in Baroda between 1997 – 2013. Besides participation in exhibitions/workshops in the country and abroad, institutional work has involved lectures/teaching/juries at, among others, MS University/Baroda, NID/Ahmedabad and IICD/Jaipur.

Two grants from the India Foundation for the Arts, Bangalore, between 2002 – 2006 and 2009 – 2011, supported a research project, ’The Himmat Workshops’. It looked at ways of rooting art practice in ground and other realities as experienced in the country, with particular reference to conflict zones. It involved collaborating with Himmat, an activist organization based in Vatva, Ahmedabad, between 2002 – 2007. A compilation of the outcome, entitled ‘Beyond Pain: An Afterlife’ was exhibited in Mumbai in 2013 (Sakshi Gallery and Project 88) and in 2015 at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Among grants received earlier are the French Government Scholarship to work at the Cite des Arts, Paris and the Charles Wallace Grant to work at Gasworks, London.

A recent publication entitled Vasudha Thozhur: Diaries, Projects, Pedagogy, is the first of a series, Art Documents, jointly conceived by SSAF—Tulika Books, a co-publishing initiative between Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation and Tulika Books. She is a Professor in the Department of Art and Performing Arts at Shiv Nadar University, Dadri, since 2013 and currently lives in Greater Noida, NCR. Other passions include writing, and music.

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