Monday, November 30, 2009

He keenly observes the highs and lows of a fast changing society and expresses them either on canvas or other media

London’s Alexia Goethe Gallery presents a solo exhibition of recent works by Jagannath Panda. His realism tends to believe and reside in the existence of Fantasy. In a single creation, the artist within the high rise apartment blocks of the burgeoning India can posit the existence of stylized gods, apparently culled from the old palm leaf manuscripts of his home state.

Assemblage and Collage get divorced from their Surrealist patrimony. His subject matter and ideas are often sourced from the events that unfold around him. As part of his creative churning, the commonplace object acquires symbolic stature, representing aspirations or even rigid dogmas. Environmental and social issues greatly concern this socially aware artist.

Elaborating on his art practice, he mentions: “I’m aware of the fragility of coexistence and also the fact that physical and emotional spaces sometimes act like quicksand.” The ironies of life visible in his surroundings greatly interest him and the unanswered questions arouse his curiosity.

Acting as both mirror and memory, they store preconceived meanings and reflect a contradictory reality that has always intrigued him. He keenly observes the highs and lows of a fast changing society and expresses them either on canvas or other media, drawing on the ambiguities of contemporary life. He states, “You can understand life in many different directions, and that is what I want to paint.”

His deceptively simple visual imagery consists of linear drawing and/or a rendered form or two that appear to float on the surface. Though his drawings are realistic, he refrains from offering a direct reference to the subject’s existence. On occasions he employs tracing sheets, silver foil and thread, to emphasis the reality of the material he uses. Color plays a limited albeit vital role of highlighting form.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Govt. of India Scheme for Visiting Fellows in Art, Culture & Heritage

The Scheme is being introduced in order to invigorate and revitalise the various institutions under the Ministry of Culture. This is sought to be achieved by encouraging scholars/academicians to affiliate themselves with these institutions to work on projects of mutual interest. With a view to infuse fresh knowledge capital into the institutions, the scheme envisages lateral movement of these scholars/academicians into the institutions to take up projects and research work related to the main objectives of these institutions and enrich them with a new creative edge and academic excellence. The Scheme will be open to both Indian nationals and foreign citizens. The proportion of foreigners will not normally exceed one –third of the total Fellowships awarded in a year.
Participating Institutions:

Scholars who have sound academic or professional credentials and who have made significant contribution to knowledge in their respective fields, as reflected in publications in reputed and referred journals and books authored by them, or persons with significant creative work in any field of art or culture, will be eligible to apply. The Fellow selected will have to attend the institution concerned, as the objective of this scheme is to provide such institutions with academic expertise, to induce academic orientation in their activities and to provide interaction with visiting academics from other institutions. Therefore, candidates who are in regular employment cannot avail the Fellowship at their parent institution.

Scholars to be engaged must have both the credentials as laid down in the preceding paragraph, as well as a strong reputation in the field covered by the institution. The Ministry of Culture will allot grant-in-aid as part of their budget allocation if the institution is an autonomous body (and seeks such funding) or make required budget provision if the institution is an attached/subordinate formation of the Ministry, for supporting the scholars thus engaged. The institutions will have the full freedom and flexibility to administer the Scheme (for which the Ministry will provide the grant-in-aid/ budgetary provision, as the case may be), within the broad parameters laid down herein under and as may be advised by the National Selection Committee (NSC) on Visiting Fellowships.

6.1 The institutions as well as scholars may identify areas to be explored, but the subject of research need not be confined/limited to one institution. The Fellow selected will work on a project of mutual benefit to both the researcher and the institution(s). The subject of research should be one that can be usefully pursued with the resources and facilities of the institution awarding the Fellowship, though he/she will be free to draw on the resources and facilities of other institutions as well. If the subject of research extends to more than one institution or the Fellow otherwise needs to draw upon the resources and facilities of other institution(s), the institution awarding the Fellowship would act as the Fellow’s nodal institution and recommend the Fellow to such other institution(s).

6.2 To start with, there may be 15 Fellowships per annum, which number can be revised at a later date. An institution can award a maximum of two Fellowships in a year but the NSC will have the discretion to relax this condition in exceptional cases.

7.1 A Visiting Fellow who is from a University, College or Government set-up in India would be entitled to the same pay, including grade pay, etc, which he/she would have drawn had he/she continued in his/her parent organization. Essential or mandatory contribution of the employer to CPF etc. would also be paid as may have been paid by the employer had he/she continued in his/her parent organization.

7.2 A Fellow from abroad or from set-up other than University, College or Government, or who has since retired from active service and/or is on pension, would be entitled to a fixed honorarium of Rs 80,000/- per month.

7.3 Such top-up amount as may be decided by the NSC would be paid to Fellow receiving funds from other sources, to bring his/her total emoluments upto the level of honorarium.

7.4 No payment of honorarium would be made to a Fellow receiving full funding from other sources upto the level of the honorarium. Such Fellow will, however, receive Contingency Grant and other allowances and facilities, as decided by the NSC.

In case of foreign research scholars and Indian research scholars residing or serving abroad, economy return airfare to/from his/her country of residence will be provided/reimbursed by the sponsoring institution once during the course of the Fellowship. The scholar who takes up the Fellowship under the Scheme will also be reimbursed, on ‘actuals’ basis, contingent expenses for making academic trips, engaging research assistants, etc. up to a ceiling of Rs. 2.50 lakhs per annum, during the tenure of Fellowship.

The duration of the Fellowship will be for a maximum period of two years. In exceptional cases, the institution may recommend to the NSC an extension for a period of upto one more year, supported by its assessment of the quality of the work undertaken. The award of the Fellowship will commence from the date of joining and the ‘years’ would be counted accordingly.

10.1 Ministry of Culture and/or the concerned institution will widely advertise the Fellowship, by way of prominent advertisements in national/ regional newspapers, having wide readership and also on its website (which should give all details) as well as to Indian Embassies in other countries, so that maximum publicity is accorded to the Scheme. However, the selection of candidates need not be confined to those who respond to the advertisement. It is open to the institution to consider, suo moto, names of eminent scholars, who in the opinion of the Director or Head of the institution have expertise in subjects relevant to it, for recommending to the NSC. The final decision will be of the NSC that can also invite any eminent scholar to become a Fellow of one of the participating institutions, in consultation with the concerned institution.

10.2 A Screening Committee will be constituted by each institution and will be headed by the Director or the Head of the institution with at least two academics and two officials nominated by the Governing Body, Board of Trustees, or the Ministry, as the case may be. The selection will be based on the relevance of the study and its requirement for the concerned institution. This will be done in two stages. The first stage would be short listing of candidates, according to the criteria broadly specified as part of the Screening Committee process. At the second stage, applications/names of short-listed candidates will be considered by the NSC separately for each institution. Secretary (Culture) will be the Chairman of the NSC, and the Director or Head of the institutions will be its ex-officio Members. The other members of the NSC will be scholars or artistes of repute, or experts who may be recommended by the participating institutions and appointed by the Ministry of Culture. The NSC will meet at least twice a year, to oversee the selection of Fellows and the administration of the Fellowships.

The number of Fellowships administered by each institution will be decided by the Ministry of Culture from time to time, in consultation with the participating institutions. This will be based on certain criteria such as physical facilities already existing in the institution, capacity of the institution to guide and inspire the Fellows to get the best out of them, its past record in publication and research, need for research/study in a particular area etc. An amount of up to 2% of the total allocation may be set aside for meeting expenses related to the administration of the scheme including monitoring, implementation, inspection, review etc of the research work carried out by the Fellows.

Candidates may submit their application on plain paper along with bio-data, list of publications, other relevant documents including one- page synopsis of the work he/she wishes to do, and names of two referees along with their contact details. The applicant should also enclose a declaration stating that if selected for the Fellowship, he/she will complete the tenure of the Fellowship.

Fellowship amounts may be released on a monthly basis to each Fellow. All Fellows will submit a work plan for the period of research to the Head of the institution. The Fellow would be required to submit six-monthly progress reports to the concerned institution and these will be placed before the NSC by the concerned institution along with its comments thereon. If the review of six-monthly progress report submitted by the Fellow results in a finding that the work done is unsatisfactory and if the NSC is of the opinion that further grants need to be stopped or curtailed, then instruction would be given to the concerned institution accordingly. The fund flow to the Fellows should continue smoothly, otherwise.

14.1 Infrastructural support will be provided by the institutions to the Fellows to enable them conduct their research. This may include provision of a computer with peripherals and connectivity and working space in the institution’s facilities, to provide a congenial atmosphere to carry out research. Other facilities, like appropriate seating arrangements, library facilities, etc, will also be made available. One important advantage of these Fellowships will be the access of Fellows to national institutions for study and research material. In respect of foreign scholars engaged under this scheme, necessary political/security clearances from the concerned Ministries/Departments shall be obtained by Ministry of Culture. Heads of the concerned institutions will function as the nodal officers for all the Fellows working in the institution. In the Ministry of Culture, the Director/Deputy Secretary in-charge of the Scheme will function as nodal officer to monitor implementation of the Scheme.

14.2 Encouragement and financial support may also be given to enable the Fellows present papers at conferences hosted by the concerned institution or other related organizations and institutions, which will be met out /reimbursed, on ‘actuals’ basis, with a ceiling of Rs. 1.00 lakh per annum, provided adequate academic interaction is arranged for.

A Fellow will be entitled to Accommodation Allowance up to 30% of his usual pay, including Grade Pay or the honorarium paid.

A Fellow from outstation will be given a lump sum grant of Rs.1.00 lakh as settling in allowance for packing/transportation etc., of his personal effects from old station to the new station of his stay during the tenure of Fellowship, if he moves station or otherwise transports books and academic effects. Allowance of an equal amount will be given at the conclusion of the Fellowship for moving out of station. In addition, economy airfare from his/her place/country of residence will be provided/reimbursed on joining and on conclusion of the Fellowship.

A Fellow shall be required to:-

(a) Deliver one public lecture per annum on the subject of his research

under the Fellowship.

(b) At the conclusion of his term, the Fellow will have to submit a Report on the work carried out under the Fellowship, indicating the achieved and the expected output. He/she will also have to make a presentation on the outcome of his/her research to the NSC.

(c) The concerned institution will publish the research work of each Fellow

at the completion of the project. The rights of the research work resulting from the award of the Fellowship will be owned by the institution. Subject to the issues of copyright, the academic output resulting from the work of the Fellow in association with the national cultural institution would be made public also through the internet/web publishing.

(d) If the institution does not provide any support for the actual printing of the book, after completion of the Fellowship, it will be open to the Fellow to get the same published through a private publisher duly acknowledging the contribution of the Ministry of Culture and the rights of the concerned institution.

Once awarded a Fellowship, a candidate cannot apply again either at the same or any other institution covered under this scheme.


Friday, November 6, 2009

From the ancient times till today, coffee houses across the globe have been, very often, the cradle of creativity, ideas and even revolutions

From the ancient times till today, coffee houses across the globe have been, very often, the cradle of creativity, ideas and even revolutions. But, it’s an irony that women have seldom been a part of such gatherings. Against such a backdrop, the just conducted women writers’ meet at the Coffee House Creative Corner (CHCC) in the Capital on Sunday was a welcome initiative. CHCC that hosts weekly gatherings on all Sunday evenings at the busy Old Bus Stand across the Market Building with a host of writers, artists, dramatists and even film and media persons decided to celebrate its golden jubilee session with Kabita Kallolini, an assembly of women writers who recited their poems that received rave response from literary circles. Following inauguration by eminent poet Rajendra Kishore Panda who maintained that “each poet is a woman for the ability to create”, 16 poets recited their poems while actress-dancer Prativa Panda anchored the event. Most of the poems were lucid and honest expressions of the woman’s mind – her dreams and dilemma – penned in first person and with an autobiographical undertone. Celebrated poet Banaja Devi’s poem described how the writer looks back at her life at times and ponders if she should calculate all that she has got or lost for that matter. Similarly, Susama Mishra, in her poem penned in a lighter vein, narrated the fast changing habits of women from her mother’s generation down to her daughter’s. Known as an established essayist and critic, Professor Sanghamitra Mishra surprised the audience with her touching poem that inspires the girl to look up straight suggesting women empowerment. However, in style of recitation and content, Runu Mohanty’s poem Sufi geet was a class of its own that eulogized women’s emancipation and left a lasting impression on the audience. Jyotsna Das was the other writer whose poem about a woman writer fondly remembering her beloved man amidst her various roles as a housewife, excelled in craft and content. A pleasant surprise was short story writer Shanti Mohanty who revealed her talent as a lyricist and a singer of high order. And city-based Hindi poet Rashmi Dhawan added a distinct flavour to the recitation session as the lone non-Oriya poet. Among others, Minati Mishra, Sunanda Tripathy, Jayanti Rath, Sunanda Mishra, Rajani Ransingh, Minati Das, Sailabala Mohapatra, Jayanti Padhiary and Purnima Nayak recited their poems. The audience comprised several eminent writers like Sourindra Barik, Adhyapak Biswaranjan, Jyoti Nanda, Adikand Sahoo and Prakash Mohapatra besides noted theatre personality Asim Basu. CHCC conveners Suresh Balabantaray and Akshaya Behera, both writers, addressed the gathering.
Shyamhari Chakra
Source: The New Indian Express