Tiger Prowls in the House of Stories
Wire mesh sheathed artworks of the legendary national animal of India touches both on the latent power of the animal and on the fragility of the material as the artwork explores various paradigms in life. This social project by Nisha Mathew Ghosh and Soumitro Ghosh is a means to create work for the economically disadvantaged and is presented at the House of Stories, Bangalore.
This medium to large-scale art installations by Nisha Mathew Ghosh and Soumitro Ghosh of the Mathew and Ghosh Architects fame, tells us the story of art being used as a tool for empowerment for the economically disadvantaged. Nisha, the architect and the creator here takes on the role of a nurturer as she uses weaving as a tool to explore ideas of nurturing, femineity, work, and freedom. Often using text as a sub-narrative, the work explores objects, forms, and is a social project set up by Nisha Mathew Ghosh (its beginning was in the latter part of the ’90s) as a means to train, skill, and create work for the dignity of the economically disadvantaged.
At once powerful yet delicate in its configuration, the installation is a work of passion that took 18 months for the life-size tiger to take shape.
“It looks at empty shadows of power, the dematerialised form of a symbol of majestic power and authority, now emptied. It is both a socio-political comment as much as a reference to the dangerously merging borders of habitation and inhabitation, provoking accountability and stewardship. It references old power structures that glorified hunting for its trophies and stuffed animals. The outer sheath of the Tiger is at once both a dream-like appearance as well as disappearance that provokes many questions, explains Nisha Mathew of her creation.
The installation is positioned at the architect duo’s well-known The House of Stories residence project, a perfect location for this mysterious sheath of a mammal. The house as described by the architects’ is a space where the writer-turned architect client realizes her desire of the notion of traversing pauses, private spaces, and deeper extensions of even more private niches. The home, as it reveals itself to the visitor – at times becomes a contemplative monolith of mottled concrete and at others of intimate domestic comfort. A concrete structure with fragmented/fractured spaces to include green spaces “that would extend from different interior spaces to the green outside”, the residence is as enigmatic as its visiting powerful mammoth in its stealthy prowl.
The Tiger project was set up as an experiment to use weaving as a tool to explore ideas of nurture, femineity, work, and freedom.
“The main trainer at ANAH-ANAH is Raju who was without any history of the skill of weaving. He had to formerly resort to begging in Bangalore due to his inability to fetch a job being a little person with some physical challenges due to unfortunate past incidents. A chance encounter at a signal light and a few years of training enabled the restoration of dignity and self-worth. He translates with guidance the design and detail instructions with a small team that he supervises and trains. He guides the team of Suchitra and Govindamma (and the new intern Chandrasharma) who have both taken to the craft and picked up skills in the last few years. This small team now adds to their family incomes, manages to take care of their children, one of whom is specially-abled and hence the need to have flexible timings. To make it feasible for them to be able to work, the workshop was set up within a short walking distance from their homes,” explains Nisha.
Tiger! Tiger!: Nisha Mathew Ghosh – ANAH-ANAH
Team Lead: Raju
Team: Suchitra, Govindamma, and Chandra Sharma
Choreography and creative: Soumitro Ghosh + Abhishek Dasgupta
Photographs: Abhishek Dasgupta + Soumitro Ghosh
Location: House of Stories, Bengaluru by Nisha Mathew Ghosh + Soumitro Ghosh (Mathew and Ghosh Architects)