Marta Kotlarska on Wed, 15 May 2013 20:44:42 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> India - video project, Meeting Talking with Anil

Please take a while to see my latest project.
I was wondering if you could help me to spread the word about this project?

Please find the details below. 
All the best

MEETING – Talking with Anil

 Are we able to establish a relationship with someone who we don’t have anything in common with? In the culture Anil belongs to the relations between a man and a woman are dramatically different to how they are in Europe. Anil believes in arrangedmarriages and wants his mother to find him a future wife. He lives in the town of Manali in India, but remains a part of the culture of the remote Laholu valley where he was born. For the last 12 years he has been working as a guide in the Himalayas .

I met Anil in 2011. He assisted me as a guide during a trek in Ladakh, a high altitude area in the remote Indian Himalayas.  While climbing we talked a lot. After we got back from the mountains we went for a pint to the local pub in Leh, capital of Ladakh.  I didn’t it know then, but this was the moment when we had started our creative journey which can go as far as our imagination and determination will take us. Anil Sharma was born in 1984 into a traditional Hindu family from the caste of Brahmins. His father died when he was ten. The loss of his father has affected the life of his family. Anil had a basic education at school in the Hindi language. He got to know English and western customs only when, as an adult man, he got a job as a guide fortourists from abroad. Though he has never travelled outside of his motherland, he is a man full of the most amazing stories I have ever heard.

I am a woman, but I am also an artist and a photographer. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland, as well as from the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London, UK. Having worked as a photojournalist for several years, I have covered stories of national identity and economic changes in Poland, Ukraine, Russia and the Turkish part of Kurdistan. In 2004 I co-founded the Click Academy, an art group that uses pinhole photography as a means of social change. Since 2005 I have been working with Romani people in Eastern Europe, visiting and documenting their settlements as well as running a community project, 'Romani Click'. It accounts for the participatory approach to education of the Roma people and was exhibited internationally in Austrian Parliament in Vienna and in 2nd Roma Pavilion in Venice International Arts Biennale.  I was born in communistic Poland and currently I am living and working in London. I fell in love and got married 7 years ago. I am the mother of a 5 years old girl.

I believe that contemporary art should not be concerned with establishing general truths, but rather with possibilities. I also think that any attempt of understanding is an on-going process, which requires constant questioning and self - reflection.  Project MEETING - Talking with Anil explores the role of photography and video in interaction with other cultures within the post-colonial context. It investigates the way artistic interventions can be used as a method of enquiry for social studies, while being set in a context of an important modern ethical dilemma: what should the intercultural relations be like in the post-colonial and globalised world?


The project is driven by a question if overcoming culture boundaries and building real understanding with a person who has completely different cultural background is possible. Post-colonialism accounts for and tries to combat the residual effects of colonialism on cultures. Key thinkers of Post-colonial Studies expose and deconstruct the way cultural texts, narrations and languages, which are in fact part of the heritage of the colonial past, arestill used to build a hierarchy and as an instrument of subordination helping to economically exploit and ideologically negate non-Western systems of values.

From the first view, everything divides me and Anil: language, culture and religion, level of education, life experience and economic level. We live thousands of miles away from each other. Can we build mutually beneficial relationships? Can we learn from each other? Are we able to overcome stereotypes, prejudices and expectations and built an equal relation? Where this meeting and co-fascination in dissimilarities of worlds we live in will take us? How this experience will challenge and change us? In order to develop the story we use technological opportunities offered by modernity: Internet communication and video. We have been talking everyday via Internet chat and Facebook. At first, Anil had been using his mobile phone to connect to the Internet. As the project progressed, I provided him with a laptop and a simple video camera andpersuaded him to use short videos as a communication tool. Anil’s letters mark the very long and difficult negotiation between him and myself - a white, middle class female artist.

Project’s website:


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