01/07/11 – 14/07/11

Arts Reverie In Ahmedebad India with Pushpa Kumari.

Pushpa Kumari

As part A Fine Line project Pushpa Kumari and Alice Kettle spent time together at Arts Reverie Ahmedebad in 2011. They spent 10 days drawing together. Without a common language and with the monsoon breaking around them, the drawn line became their method of communication. Pushpa introduced Alice to Madhubani techniques. They drew with a length of cotton dipped into ink and dragged across the paper to build up marks and pattern. These shared drawings became the conversations between them which Alice then developed into a stitch response on her return to UK.


These are being exhibited consecutively in Manchester for the Manchester Asian Arts Festival and at Arts Reverie in Ahmedebad International Arts Festival.

The residency was followed by 2 exhibitions;

Arts Reverie, Ahemedebad, India 13/10/11 – 16/10/11

‘Drawing the Line, Extending the Line’
The Holden Gallery, Manchester
28/10/11 – 25/11/11

Drawing the Line exhibits the work of Manisha Parekh and Pushpa Kumari, two artists, whose individual works on paper offer each artist’s contemporary interpretation of traditional practice and encapsulate the tensions and powerful productivity of Indian contemporary art in the 21st century.

Extending the Line presents new works by Alice Kettle and Lin Holland made in response to their experiences in India during collaborative residencies with Manisha Parekh and Pushpa Kumari.

Extending the Line

I look out of the window straight into the marooned interior of the house next door. My face is aligned with a dirty child smiling in the arms of a tiny sister. I am a white curiosity in the middle of the brown monsoon – a perpetual rain wall clattering drenching and burning acid. It soaks and smells and never stops. My noisy sanctuary is a weeping house of reveries in Ahmedebad. It creaks and swells in the rain, sighing and moaning as the gushes of water stream through its hot cracks.

 My limbs are tired and dry and swollen too. I stretch my fingers and ease my cramped knees. Today, yesterday and the day before, I have sat stacking day upon day, upon day. I draw a fine sari thread through ink and drag its seeping black onto paper into eddies of cross hatch.

 Pushpa Kumari is drawing near me. We talk in lines, our only common language. She tells me of the circling paisley, the dancing rituals, the singing bells, the deep sand temples filled with lotus flowers, the chattering monkeys and the songbirds.  I see the Maharaja, the block printed and shiboried cloths with woven brocade gold and gemstone bangles. King Dambh’s wife and her shell child Shankhchud, Brahma and the Badri jungles with the River Gandhaki flowing from Lord Shankar’s hennared hand. There are the embroidered banners, silk mashru and fine indigo patola. She draws the lineage of madhubani painting passed from her grandmother Maha Sundari Devi to mother to daughter in the intricate chronology of tradition. Her line circumnavigates the generations as she describes the indigenous histories of her ancestors, the symbols of her native landscape in repeated motif and ornament.

 I am humbled by her lines of enchantment. They lead me away from my awkward colonialist associations and coax me from stilted corners into fluid curves. I look out and see an interconnected patterned world of triangular mobile phone masts and complex grids of telegraph poles, cables, sewage pipes with valves and turns and circular pleats and rows of buzzing pylons. There is sparkling paper, plastic rubbish piled on stippled earth.

 I see the rain. I see the drops and pools as it washes and cleans.

Pushpa Kumari and I smile. I see the lines of laughter as inked fingers draw nearer together.