Holi Hai!

Event details

  • Artcore Gallery
  • 14 April 2023
  • 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Exhibition open from 14/04/2023 to 20/05/2023

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Holi Hai!

Artcore Gallery

11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
14 April 2023


Holi Hai!

Artcore Gallery

11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
14 April 2023


Artcore Gallery in association with QUAD – FORMAT International Photography Festival is pleased to announce the list of selected participants working in lens-based and related media for its international residency, Holi Hai! The selected artists will undertake a week-long residency in Vadodara, India, and then travel to Derby, UK to install an exhibition at Artcore Gallery as part of the next FORMAT biennale, FORMAT23.

The Holi Hai! residency will take place in the tribal-rich district of Chhotaudepur in the western-most state of Gujarat, India from 01.03.23 to 12.03.23. For the Rathwa tribal community in this region, Holi is the most important festival and is celebrated across the district for almost ten days. The main method of celebration is through numerous village fairs where tribal families, dressed in their best clothes and jewellery, congregate to enjoy themselves; participating in community song and dance, playing the flute, shopping, eating from food stalls and so on. The villagers reach the fair, almost dancing their way from their villages. It is a sight that has to be seen to be believed! However, with the entry of technology in tribal areas, some of the traditional tribal ways of life are giving way to the ways of the urban mainstream. 

In 2023, Holi falls on the 6th and 7th of March (Holika worship and burning on the evening of the 6th and Dhuleti – playing with colours on the 7th). The most important Holi fair is the Gher no Melo (Melo meaning fair on the 9th March, near Kawant town), then there is Raichinpura no Melo (10th and 11th of March near Tejgadh) and Waghwastal no Melo (12th March, near Chhotaudepur town).

The selected residency artists will have a chance to visit these fairs, meet residents and other artists, and the opportunity to visit important sites such as the Art School at the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, and Champaner-Pavagadh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is in that neighbourhood. They will also spend a few days in the nearby cities of Vadodara and Ahmedabad (also a UNESCO World Heritage City) to learn more about the tribal communities and importance of the Holi festival. After this, the artists will each make work responding to the festival celebrations, culture, and residents of the villages; exchange ideas and practices to curate a collaborative exhibition at Artcore Gallery in Derby, UK from 28.04.23 to 12.05.23 for FORMAT23.

The base for the selected artists-in-residence in this tribal area will be the Adivasi Academy (Adivasi meaning tribal) in the village of Tejgadh in Chhotaudepur district. The academy is managed by the Vadodara-based Bhasha Research and Publication Centre who work on documenting the tribal culture, history, arts and crafts, performance art, way of life and indigenous languages. The Adivasi Academy currently houses a Tribal Museum, a large library, and a modest residential school for tribal children of labourer-parents. The selected artists-in-residence will be supported by staff from the Academy who will accompany them to the fairs and other local places of interest. The Bhasha Research and Publication Centre and the Adivasi Academy are not-for-profit organisations depending on funded projects and donations for their sustenance. 

The selected artists are Nisa Khan, Nikki Culley and Masood Sarwer.

Nisa Khan is a Derby-based artist. Her multi-disciplinary practice spans across sculpture, installation, photography, film, performance, and mixed media productions. Khan is interested in humour, and its role in representation. She often uses it as a tool to lure the viewer. Her practice explores intersectional feminism. She unpicks multiculturalism by investigating embedded cultural codes and exposing unpleasant, crude, familiar and unfamiliar elements of her working class British Pakistani heritage. In particular, she draws from early conversations with her mother, whose colourful language contrasted with the strict social codes she attempted to enforce.

Nikki Culley is a Manchester-based film photographer. Her main interest in photography is creating stories and the physicality of making photographs. Culley enjoys black and white darkroom printing where she’s able to experiment with the manual process of developing each photography outcome. Most of her work relates to themes of love, loss and discovery, with a focus on telling stories and learning about other people, groups and cultures.

Masood Sarwer is a visual artist and a documentary photographer based in New Delhi, India. His practice involves documenting the profound changes in culture and society, and the contemporary issues in the Murshidabad district region in West Bengal where he grew up. His works mainly focus on issues around women, girls, identity, human rights, and the environment.