GOWRY ART INSTITUTE
Trivandrum, Kerala – 2005:
In 2005, artist Sajitha Shankar founded the Gowry Art Institute and two years later launched its first residency. The Residency is situated in Kallar on the Western Ghats around 50 km from Thiruvananthapuram Airport. The residency evolved from Sajitha’s own dream for a space where she could completely surrender herself to her creative practice. This, she found, was a particularly difficult task for a woman in a patriarchal society. She set about converting her dream to reality by first identifying a suitable location for her studio amidst nature and then raising the necessary funds to build a studio. In keeping with her philosophy of feminine strength and identity, she achieved this solely through the sale of her art.
Gowry Art Residency initially began as the artist’s own studio and then grew into a residency with three studios. Just as her own residency experiences elsewhere had benefited her, her aim in setting up this Residency was to offer a similar experience to others. Although feminine centric practices resonate closely with the ideology of the space, the Residency is open to all manners of creative practitioners who are in need of a space for reflection and artistic reinvigoration.
The location of the Residency has much to offer. It is not only situated on the banks of the Kallar river but is also in a culturally rich village inhabited by Kani tribes and indigenous people. This attracts both Indian and international artists which results in intercultural interactions. The Residency also encourages communication across disciplines as it is open to applications from artists, writers, musicians and all creative personalities. ‘The Bridge’ is a flagship event of the Residency that celebrates this relationship of the various arts. Other activities of the Residency include art camps, workshops for children, poetry readings and so on.
Text Courtesy : Space118
Image Courtesy : Gowry Art Institute