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Meet Farmers, Artists, Musicians, Activists and More at India’s first Land Art Festival!

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At the beginning of every new year, we thank everyone who made the previous one wonderful. Along with your near and dear ones, it’s time to thank those too who are responsible for the food on your plate, the farmers. So, come and join this group of enthusiastic artists and farmers to begin the year 2017 with music, dance, art and joy by staying with a villager at India’s first land art festival – ‘Gram Dhara Chitra Utsav’ – scheduled from December 25-31 at Paradsinga village in Madhya Pradesh.

Consider this: Five artists from different states of India, five social workers working on farmer issues from the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, a writer from Pune, a psychologist from Netherlands, a choreographer from Nagpur, a young singer as well as farmers and young volunteers from Paradsinga village will all converge at a single location to interact and collaborate with each other. Their joint effort will result in seven important images highlighting contemporary farming issues and seven unique paintings that will reflect these issues. And unique because they will not be drawn on any canvas or paper but on the farms.

Seeds have been sown in seven different farms of Paradsinga village covering 24,500 square feet of farmland with red and green leafy vegetables, which will grow in the shape of these paintings.

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One of the land arts in progress

This is what will make for the ‘Gram Dhara Chitra Utsav’, India’s first land art festival, scheduled to take place at Paradsinga village in Madhya Pradesh from December 25-31. The festival is also open for everyone to perform, paint, sing, sculpt, click, sow, farm, cook, stay, learn, enjoy and collaborate to make it all the more meaningful.

“We are not any NGO or organisation; we are a group of artists, farmers and people from various other fields who believe that art and farming can be the catalysts for social change. We are celebrating this festival, because we feel a strong need of celebrations of a different kind that bring the community together at a stage beyond power, religion, and caste to celebrate nature, life, soil and food,” says Shweta Bhatad, an artist from Gram Art Residency.

The Activity Schedule

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December 24

If you reach at the venue by the evening of December 24, you can watch a magic show arranged by the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (Maharashtra Blind Faith Eradication Committee). The show will be followed by an awareness programme on snakes, called as ‘Know Your Snakes’ by Sarpmitra.

December 25

A wall painting performance by artists from Sasatwa Foundation, Orissa in the morning.

Inauguration of the seed festival in the afternoon.

Revolutionary farming songs by Prabhakar Devtale and Group in the evening.

Prabhakar Devtale and his wife are organic farmers. Their children have also joined them in farming although they have a degree in Engineering. This is a group of like-minded urban farmer couples and families who now have an orchestra that plays only farming-related songs.

December 26

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International artist, Shweta Bhattad

A participatory mass performance for everyone present at the festival in a farm in the morning.

International artist Shweta Bhattad will also present one of her best performances titled ‘Faith’.

There will be a presentation by progressive organic farmers on their success stories of farming and value-addition of farming products at Bazar Chowk, Pardsinga in the evening.

December 27

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Zubaan Music Group

The music group ‘Zubaan’ will present a performance of their indie songs. This group holds concerts and collaborates with artists across the mainstream/local music industries to consolidate into one indie music industry. In this concert farmer-artists and artists from Nagpur, Mumbai, Paradsinga and Sewagram will collaborate and present their songs.

From December 28-31

You can explore village life and connect with the farmers and artists as well as learn skills such as making Chulhas (mud stove), cattle grazing, working in the farms along with the farmers, making your own land art in a small farm and a visit to all seven land arts.

Interestingly, a group of cyclists will ride all the way from Nagpur to join the festivities.

You can be an integral part of this festival by opting to stay with a farmer’s family at a cost of just Rs 310 per day. This would include morning tea, breakfast, lunch, dinner and a bed to sleep. 

How to Reach

Paradsinga is 55km from Nagpur, Maharashtra. Direct buses from Nagpur to Paradsinga are available from the M.P Bus Stand near the main railway station of Nagpur and this would approximately be an hour’s journey.

If you are coming from Madhya Pradesh, you can take a direct bus from Chhindawara to Paradsinga which is a 70 km journey and takes approximately one and a half hours.

This is a crowd-funded event and your monetary contributions are welcome and needed.

To know more about the event, please e-mail at gramartproject@gmail.com or call on 09373112912/09373112320. Website: www.gramartproject.org.

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Written by Manabi Katoch

A Mechanical Engineer-turned-writer, Manabi finds solace in writing stories about unsung heroes. Nothing makes her happier than the impact emails from her readers. Other than writing, she loves listening to the stories told by her six year old daughter. Manabi can be reached at manabi@thebetterindia.com. You can also find her tweets @manabi5