AVArtS REPORT 2015-2016
We closed last year and started the present with working to present Auroville in Chennai. Auroville Art Service was closely involved in all the elements of the organization of ‘What is Auroville’, the festival of Auroville in Chennai that had 30 events, including 8 art exhibitions and 2 performances.
A few months later, we (Krishna, Marco and Mariana) were part of the preliminary planning team of the 50th anniversary of Auroville and our office was kept busy helping artists to write proposals and estimate budgets.
Luckily we had the help of Nilen, a new member of our team, who sat with innumerable project holders and helped them fine-tune their submissions. With a flair for administration, Nilen, along with Krishna, holds the fort in the office and takes care of all our Avnet postings.
Another new member is Ivana. With her years of experience in the area of finance, she has taken over the organization of our umbrella service. Finally we have a professional eye on our accounts, and the result is that we are ready to expand our umbrella service to include more artists as well as adult learning activities in all areas. Ivana and the members of our co-operative have enabled us to contribute to the Central Fund this year, as well as to set up three funds: for public art (Rs. 6000/-), for an artist-in-residence (Rs. 6000/-) and a fraternity fund for artists and cultural venues (Rs. 6000/-). We are confident that these funds will build up and we will be able to help artistic projects in Auroville.
This year we have enjoyed working with Kaeridwyn, a newcomer whose profession is theatre. She conducted weekly classes for adults, taught in TLC and just started ‘Unicorn Collective’, a theatre group, along with a few of other Aurovilians and newcomers. Their first project was a moving interactive performance called ‘Tracks of the Unicorn’, in Mahalakshmi Park.
One of the projects we took up with enthusiasm was the exploration of how to increase the sales of Auroville publications. Towards this end, Nina tried to enhance direct sales to bookshops. We received a PCG grant to take publications to two book fairs in India. It was with this help that we took Auroville books to the Ethical Market, where we set up a stall (taken care of by Maria, Nina, Petra and Renu) during the festival of Auroville in Chennai. After our participation in the Ethical Market, we realized that we were not ready to do this well and that a lot more research was needed before we could be in a position to take AV publications to a national book fair, as was intended, so we decided to rethink our approach and returned the money to PCG.
A good thing that came out of our efforts to distribute the books was the work done by Mariana to collate a database of books written by Aurovilians and/or published in Auroville. This catalogue is now kept up by Angelo for auroville.org and by Kristen for aurowiki.
We have begun working to create the back-end of the 50th anniversary events organization with an online events calendar (in a calendar format). A long-time request and a long-felt need in the cultural sector, Sarah C, a volunteer who is waiting to apply to enter as a newcomer, has smoothly taken up this project and provides us with weekly updates, researching the N&N for information. This calendar is posted as a screen shot of the week on Avnet and is available on our website artservice.auroville.org
Sarah also keeps our Facebook page up and running. This page focuses on announcing art and culture events, features, and news from around the world.
Marco Saroldi, a newcomer who has joined our service, has started to explore the ways to document the 50th anniversary with photography. Towards this he has begun a weekly photographic journal of the events happening in and around Auroville. This journal is posted by us on Avnet and on our website.
And speaking of our website, not only have we put up the online calendar, but we have started a weekly newsletter where events, announcements, news of grants/residencies, and even poems are published. We are also working towards an online gallery of the work of Auroville artists. We moved the website to the auroville server. Christoph P and Damien take care of our website.
Thanks to an Aurovilian supporter who gave us a donation towards a public art installation, we organized our first contribution to public art in Auroville. Ramesh Payeri created a sculpture in granite that is placed on the cycle path through Anusuya Forest.
In the last year we have been strongly guided in our work by Renu, the executive who keeps a close eye on our ideals and ideas! Taking on the onerous responsibility of continuously comparing our daily activities to our overall vision, she makes sure our focus is toward achieving excellence in all aspects.
Important to know:
- We invite Aurovilians with a small or occasional sales/performance/teaching income and Aurovilians who are running Adult Learning Activities to join our co-operative and support the development of art in Auroville and, through art, support the building and planning of the city. Artists are very welcome and we have opened our umbrella to therapists and martial arts and other areas.
- Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and enjoy the latest news and photographs of events in and around Auroville.
- If you have written or published a book in the last year, make sure that it is on the online catalogues available on Aurowiki and auroville.org. If not, we can help you to send the correct information for inclusion.
- Artists and cultural venues! Please look at our website artservice.auroville.org and click on ‘join’ to be featured. We are connected to the auroville.org website and your information can be seen from there.
Executives: Marco F, Pushkar, Ramesh, Renu
Office: Ivana, Krishna, Nilen
Projects: Kaeridwyn, Marco S, Mariana, Nina, Petra, Sarah M
Co-operative members to date: Adil Writer, Anna Taj, Audrey, Connie, Dariya, Erika, Francesca, Ivana, Kaeridwyn, MagzAV, Marco S, Moghan, Monique P, Nele Martens, Nishtha, Noel P, Serge Sukhino, Tai Chi Hall, Vera, Wazo
We gratefully acknowledge the many hours of time and effort put in by generous people of goodwill, including Aurovilians, our executives, newcomers and many volunteers.
aurovillearts [at] auroville.org.in