art snaps travel

Gunehar diaries: 1 – the beginning


Now that I am in Gunehar, I wonder what stories I am going to end up with, in the next three weeks.

I reached this village in Himachal Pradesh yesterday. The day before, at Delhi airport, I met Conman – an interesting film-maker from Singapore – also participating in the SA/AS residency. I had flown in from Goa and he from Hongkong. He teaches production design in couple of film schools. He also acts in movies and commercials. And he has made few feature films as well, including one documentary on the homeless in Japan. Conman recently had a heart attack and had to undergo a surgery and has to carry emergency medicines with him at all times. His project in Gunehar will revolve around involving the village children in making of fiction movies (most likely a continuation of something that he had started two years ago in the first edition of this residency).

After few hours, Kaki – another fellow participant from Delhi, found us at the food-joint outsider terminal 1. It was past eleven in the night. We soon teak seats in Raju driver’s Innova. 4T – the main organizer of the residency had sent Raju driver from Himachal to pick us up from Delhi. It took us about 10 hours to reach the village. I didn’t get much sleep.

Conman trying Sprite at a dhaba to deal with his suspected diarrhea. Somewhere in Punjab / Himachal – on route from Delhi to Gunehar.

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4T, the organizer of the program welcomes us on our arrival in Gunehar. Also seen in the picture, is a sleepy Kaki.

Some participants had already reached. Few more would arrive later in the day. We were shown our rooms, spread across different houses in the village, along a common main road.

My green house for 4 weeks in Gunehar. It has two rooms. I occupy one. Bluehair, an artist from Bangalore occupies the other.
Ken, a web designer from Russia, took some of us to a vantage point in the village that offers a great view (the feature image of this post).

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Everyone spent most of the day, explaining to everyone else what they did in life. Some artists are very clear about their projects. Few are like me. I don’t even know if I am an artist. But that should not matter. I should just find stories and bring them out the way I do. And everything will fall in place. I am sure I would end up finding someone interesting from the village itself. And then, there are all these other artists themselves – I am viewing most of them as potential subjects. I can create stories that help me (and the world) understand how challenging it is, for an artist to survive in India, just being an artist.

Today, we will be shown our shops from where we would be operating. I am supposed to create and put up signage and all. So is everyone else. Fun times ahead.

My room inside the green house. I pretend to think.

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