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.

Elephant Parade Charity Project, Singapore 2011

Man does not live by decree or ideology, but by his or her own sense of purpose. Taking a huge magnifying glass, I attempt to zoom in and ‘POP’ the stories behind the ‘common man’, and Street Culture, and in doing that, hopefully hold up a mirror back to ourselves. Hidden in ordinary, everyday people and the stories around them, I sometimes stumble upon myself. I may know about Design, Architecture and Western Art History, but I also feel I have been brainwashed time and again by this flat, heavy educational conditioning, which is now even informing / encroaching on lifestyle decisions. When I am travelling, staying with Naga babas in Kumbh melas, or with the masaai tribe in Kenya, I realize that these individuals have probably never drank coffee from Starbucks, never heard of Picasso, and most certainly do not have an I-Pad! I have much more to learn from these individuals about the latent ‘de-conditioned’ person in me than I could ever from the metropolitan stage set I live in, which has made an urban slave out of me. There are no victims in this world….and to a large extent, I believe we design our lives and complexities in order to ultimately ‘graduate’ from them. Life is one long boot camp! However, I cannot help feeling that the small percentage of people in the world who have access to high information, travel and a genuine ‘open mindedness’ are turning into Ostriches. Are we burying our heads in the sand? Are we bombarded with information and generally overwhelmed? Have we sold our freedom and individuality for a life in which almost all decision making is quietly being consumed by the illusion than the reality, by games rather than face to face communication?

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 observing, documenting & chronicling untold stories of migration & diversity.


Examples of books / writers used for research project BRITINDIA

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

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.


Investigating the Rural-Urban divide in India
Co-organized a one month Art residency in the Himalayan village of Gunehar, Himachal Pradesh, India; May 2016.
Ten Artists from various backgrounds were invited to live in Gunehar, converting empty shops into live studios to document and convert into Art their observations. In partnership with 4 Tables & Puneet Kaushik.

Visitors feedback: A trailer to the SAAS2 project

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

The 4 Tables Project (Frank Schlichtmann) in partnership with Ketna Patel Studio raised most of their project funding through crowd sourcing. https://www.ketto.org/fundrais...

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.

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)