THE EARLY DAYS! Singapore Radio: 'Passion People' with Shobana Kesava; 2002 (Part 1)
PROJECT 'DIARY OF TRANSCIENCE'; 2018
Perhaps no other British creation symbolizes the standard of excellence as well as the Rolls Royce car. From Royals to Rap stars, the Rolls Royce car holds its own as the ultimate symbol of success.
Heralded as the car of the Maharajas and the preferred transportation of Chinese and Indonesian billionaires, British / Indian Pop Artists Ketna Patel & Jon Reading have transformed a classic 1975 Rolls Royce 'Silver shadow' into a mobile Art installation.
Commencing in summer 2018, they intend to travel around 'immigrant Britain', documenting and archiving stories of the many layered generations of immigrants in Britain. Their objective is to explore, facilitate and reflect a deeper awareness of the many layers of narrative within the immigrant communities living in the U.K, both to themselves and the rest of the world.
If Politics is an expression of social identity, we cannot change politics without changing social identities.
Atomisation and Alienation results through the dissolution of community. By reviving society through stimulating a rich and participatory culture, we are likely to catalyse a transformation in outlook and attitudes.
We create our political identities by looking around us and saying to ourselves, 'I am part of this and not part of that; these people are my allies and those people my opponents.' If we perceive ourselves to belong to a community in which people work together to improve their lives and their neighbourhood, to enjoy each other's company and help each other, that perception is likely to shape our political self-image.
(Excerpts from George Monbiot's new book - ' Out of the wreckage; a new politics for an age of crisis')
Affectionately we refer to Britain as 'Blighty'.... but how many people know that the name 'Blighty' derives from "bilayati"; a regional variant of the hindi word "vilayati", meaning "foreign" or "British"!
Ketna Patel hails from an indian ethnicity, but was born with a British nationality in one of Britain's colonies; Kenya. She has spent most of the last 25 years in Singapore and India; both British colonies. "Coming from this layered background, I am aware of how conditioned we have been by the ‘British’ version of world events, and how this colonial education (for better or worse) may have locked us out of our own original thought and identity making. I am not talking about religious rituals or the stageset and props behind National Day Parades and Diwali festivals.…..I am referring to the ‘new 21st century, largely urban Asian’. Who is he or she?? And what is this modern Asian with the new, powerful voice saying and feeling? What do they look like?"
During my travels in India, I stumble across quiet displays of ingenious creativity. However, I suspect that there is a shortage of platforms in which these ‘creative’ two way conversations can be had with the public. At the risk of generalization, I would say that Indian Design has become entangled with foreign brands and status, often substituting its own story telling with projections borne from foreign cultures and sensibilities. For a young girl to spend her whole month’s salary on a branded handbag makes no sense. Overt minimalism for a country bursting with colour and texture seems strange, yet we are all tuning into many homogenous presentations and reproductions of copies of copies from somewhere else. We are witnessing the demise of the individual. Any demonstration of the opposite of that is something I would dearly welcome, even if the end product is not finished or slick.
Jon Reading is British; grew up in Wales, and holds an 'Overseas Indian citizenship'. He has spent most of his adult life in India, Malaysia and Singapore, with regular trips back to the U.K. He is currently busy up a ladder renovating the chapel studio in Wales!
With our combined life experiences, observations, and social networks, we would like to build cultural and social bridges of understanding between Britain and India. In particular, our focus is to shine the light on invisible or marginalised communities that have been left out of the universal neo-liberal economic political model which has had sever ramifications on individual and national identities.
PROJECT 'INDIA DISCOVERS CHINA'; Ongoing enquiry observing and documenting how these two giant 'parents' of Asian culture compare and contrast their expression and identities in the post modern world.
PROJECT: RURAL-URBAN DIVIDE
CHANGING SELF IDENTITY IN THE ERA OF GLOBALIZATION: The nature of Ketna & Jon's work observes, explores and comments on the socio-economic consequences of Globalization; how communities all over the world are being impacted.
Rural areas in Britain, and indeed in Europe, have, for some time, been subject to processes of population transformation, which have resulted in expressions of concern about the future health and viability of rural communities. To participate and contribute to this phenomenon in a deeper and meaningful way, Artists Ketna Patel & Jon Reading have decided to make rural Wales their main studio location in U.K.
From many years of varied international experience, they have observed the heightening polarization between urban and rural life. People in cities seem to be over stimulated, and many individuals in rural areas 'under stimulated'. Metropolitan areas are creaking under the pressure of suffocating transportation systems, housing shortages, and general unproductivity as many hours are wasted in traffic jams and commuting. The air and water quality is diminishing, and its a frenzied rat race! Britain is an urban country and about four fifths of the UK population lives in cities and towns. There seems to be something wrong with that equation!
PROJECT: ART AS A COMMUNICATION VEHICLE
What happens to Artwork once it leaves our studio? How does it travel, and where does it end up? Does it influence the environment it finds itself in?
If you have bought Artwork from us, we invite you to email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) photos of the Artwork in its new context. Although your identity will remain confidential, these photos may be published or presented in public for research purposes.
The findings / documentation will be part of our larger enquiry into how Art in non institutional contexts plays a part in the propagation of cultural knowledge in our Globalized Information age.