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Visual Learning Workshop

Participatory Visual Learning workshop series

The Space Without, 2020.

2020 has been a year of many firsts for a lot of us, terrifying and memorably in many ways. When the Zubaan and Through Her Lens team began discussing the possibility of incorporating the work that comes out of the Participatory Visual Learning workshops into a segment of the exhibition, I was eager to understand how my curatorial process would play out in a creative learning environment devoid of a formal academic structure. The key word was participatory, the aim was to further understand how learners engage with participation as a mode of learning and artistic creation. Through discussion on visual literacy, representation, identity, culture, gender, and sexuality the learners were encouraged to look at their everyday and try to understand what this everyday consisted of, what it meant and what it felt like.

Through the workshops I had the opportunity to engage with some strong tenacious women, engaged in community work, research, education and creative practice. In their work you see reflections of their lives and the mundane begins to shape itself into something quite extraordinary. Their work questions the female form, the space for grey hair, the open communal spaces of their homes and the spaces we associate sickness with. They invite you to question your own understanding of the everyday and the spaces you find pleasure, fear, or thrive in.

At the start my aim was to get them to notice their everyday spaces, to identify ideas and crevices that they find themselves existing in and out of. We often find ourselves occupying spaces that we do not completely comprehend or even want to engage with, however in developing an artistic and creative learning support system, those very questions became a point of contact and ease for everyone. All of these women were coming from very different familial spaces, educational and work systems, but at the workshop they functioned as a source of support and knowledge for each other. Their work in many ways adds to a wider cultural discourse of how women from the North Eastern states understand their identity and culture, a counter-narrative you are invited to understand but not one you can create for them.

 

Ruchika Gurung

9th December 2020

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