ARTIVISM = ART + ACTIVISM = Employing Art for strengthening 'Identity'

Using Pop Art and various outreach vehicles / platforms for information gathering and communication, Ketna Patel studio has regularly initiated / participated in social and community projects where the main intention is to put the spotlight on marginalized or less visible communities.

Relentless consumerism and senseless aping of styles and trends have often overtaken the traditional desire to perpetuate and honour family history, cultural sensibilities and local craftsmanship. Colour, patterns, texture have been slowly bleeded out of aesthetic story telling until a habitat has become stylishly minimal, but emotionally impotent.

ONGOING ART-IVISM PROJECT: 'THE DIARY OF TRANSCIENCE': Journeying through immigrant Britain;an interactive MOBILE ART-IVISM ENQUIRY by British Indian Pop Artist Ketna Patel, observing, documenting & chronicling untold stories of United Kingdom's immigrant Diaspora, and the part they play in modern Britain.

Exploring relationships between Britain and India, especially in the post Brexit context

Examples of books / writers used for the research for this project.

Ketna was formally acknowledged as a UK-INDIA Young leader in London, June 2018

BRITINDIA: One of the intentions of this ongoing project will be to find different ways of creatively expressing the everyday 'parallels' between Britain and India. These will be transmuted into visual narratives as part of larger 'story telling' devices.

A snapshot of the Graffitti wall painted by the villagers of Gunehar for the Ketna Patel GUNEHAR POP installation. The 2016 edition of the SHOPART ARTSHOP 2 PROJECT was organised by the 4 Tables Project in partnership with Ketna Patel Studio and Puneet Kaushik.

The three curators on the 'Grand Finale' of the residency

Puneet Kaushik, Frank Schlichtman, Ketna Patel

The 4 Tables Project (Frank Schlichtmann) in partnership with Ketna Patel Studio raised most of their project funding through crowd sourcing.

Desolate empty shops of a little village turned into 'ArtShops', i.e. artists workshops! A whole village turned into an arts gallery! A festival of arts for everybody, from local villagers to visiting art lovers! And all this live on Internet!

ShopArt ArtShop 2 is a conceptual arts event set in a small, pristine village, Gunehar, in Kangra Valley, HP. From May 14 to June 7 this year, numerous contemporary artists from around India and the world will live in this village and participate in a paid residency. They will be allotted empty shops and desolate spaces as their workspace and work on art concepts dealing with themes that attempt to transcend, through their work, the great rural-urban divide that exists in today’s India and indeed, the world.

The three-week residency will culminate in an exhibition (June 7-14) whereby the entire village will turn into a gallery of contemporary arts. The Art Festival-- or ‘Mela’, as the villagers fondly call it-- will see traditional villagers, urbanites and tourists come together to celebrate their creative unity. The finished art works will become the center pieces around which a whole cultural program with local ‘Mela’ elements, music concerts, performances, live shows, film screenings, podium discussions etc. will be held.

SA AS is unique because it not only, for a short while, reimagines a village but also gives the contemporary Indian arts scene a much-needed alternative. We believe arts must occasionally be taken out of the urban, gallery and market oriented space and set in open spaces and put in unusual contexts. For this purpose, SA AS artists are not only required to develop concepts that combines the traditional with the contemporary, but also work daily in front of villagers and visitors to make the whole process of creating arts transparent and accessible. A carefully planned Internet platform meticulously documents, demonstrates and archives the whole process of creation, plus allows ‘virtual’ visitors to ‘visit’ the village, engage and communicate with the artists as well as participate in the events. Finally, the whole event is taken out ‘on tour’ to cities in India and abroad.

Visitors feedback: A trailer to the SAAS2 project

SAAS2: Fashion Designer Rema Kumar

SAAS2: Ceramic Artist Mudita Bhandari

SAAS2: Mural Artist Gargi Chandola + the Kangra Miniature Painters

SAAS2 virtual communication platform

5 month long crowd funding social media campaign; Jan - May 2016

'Excavating Odisha 2017' is a unique investigative Arts Residency exploring the Rural - Urban divide in India. Curated by Puneet Kaushik; co-curated by Ketna Patel & Rema Kumar.

It will put a magnifying glass to the many disparate tribal arts forms in Orissa, presenting its findings in the contexts of Arts Practice, Research and Policy. From 14 to 28 February 2017 the famous ancient destination of Puri, Odisha will welcome ten renowned artists from India and beyond. Hosted in the beachside residency of MATI TRUST, each will embark on an exploration into the complex nature of tribal and folk practices in the region. Words like ‘art’ and ‘craft’ are deceptive. Folk art, once kept alive by its relevance to its own context, is in danger of either being replaced by industrialization, or becoming fossilized and made into a cosy and meaningless folksy cliché for urban consumers. This residency will help forge a new communication between living rural-based crafts and urban drive & know-how. We see immense potential in such rural-urban artistic dialogue to discover new, living meanings, and new national and international audiences. For two weeks, Puri will be a cultural hub buzzing with innovation, exploration and collaboration. The artisans are Master Craftsmen in patachitra, palm leaf painting, terracotta, stone sculpture, coir work, papier-mâché, piplicraft, ikat weaving and umbrella-making. The visiting artists who will be working closely with them all have strong reputations within their chosen media. Crafting Odisha 2017 will focus on the soft power of villages — their people and their stories, skills, knowledge and wisdom, aesthetics, songs, fashion, indigenous design vocabulary and agricultural knowledge. These complex issues will be explored and broadcast beyond Odisha by visiting artists who work in disciplines including installations, photography, film, spatial planning, pop art, culinary arts, music, dance, and fashion. Crafting Odisha 2017 will also document the histories and narratives of the craftspeople. It will explore the challenges facing them and help connect them with modern technology. It will stress the importance of financial and commercial dimensions of the ‘crafts world’. It will explore their sustainability in a fast-moving modern world, and ways to make mythological or spiritual contexts newly comfortable in our present day, global world.

Music video by Shashwat Srivastava; created as part of the 2 week Art Residency 'Excavating Odisha', curated by Puneet Kaushik; co-curated by Ketna Patel, Rema Kumar; Feb 2017; Raghurajpur, Odisha, India

'EXCAVATING ODISHA' Art residency; curated by Puneet Kaushik; co-curated by Ketna Patel & Rema Kumar; Feb 2017

Ketna with master crafts artisan Goranga Maharana of Raghurajpur, Odisha, India; Feb 2017

Hindustan Times, New Delhi Jan 30, 2016

The guiding philosophy behind our studio's Rural - Urban Projects is inspired by E.F Schumacher's 'Small is Beautiful' book. A landmark statement against “bigger is better” industrialism, his book still offers a crucial message for the modern world struggling to balance economic growth with the human costs of globalization.

'Create small units of organization'

'Gigantism degrades and dehumanizes people'

The Big Ideas podcast: EF Schumacher's 'small is beautiful'

Finally, a breakthrough alternative to growth economics; the doughnut (George Monbiot)