A surprising place for surprising art.
Art Post Uki is a gallery space dedicated to showing the work of artists from Uki and surrounding areas in what is a truly unusual venue, the heritage-listed Uki Post Office. The exhibitions are curated by an independent panel including a local artist, with a mission to build community and engage visitors.
200km east of Delhi there is a village that is considered one of the most significant places of pilgrimage in India, Vrindavan Dham. The people who live there are known as the Vrajbasis, ‘the people of Vraj’. The Vrajbasi’s are considered some of the most devout Krishna devotees, the deity of Krsna quite literally being their life and soul. From September 2017 to April 2018 Vrinda lived amongst Vrajbasi devotees and observed the daily going-ons of their lives.
What started as a visual diary evolved as both a daily meditation and an exploration of ‘spiritual work’. As concepts, Vrinda often think of ‘spiritual work’ and ‘material work’ to be two very separate activities. Vrinda says, we are either praying or working. This binary between the things that are sacred in our day and those that are mundane permeated her religious upbringing. But does this binary hold strong when it comes to the lives of the Vrajbasis?
Over eight months of watching, looking and gazing at the village that she inhabited, what interested her most was that often, when she really observed what was happening in front of me, when the moods and changes of the Vrajbasis truly surfaced, there was little difference between the sway of the Brahmins in the temples and the stride of the Bhangis in the streets, all were engaged in acts of devotion. Devotion within work, within any kind of work, was an idea that began to inspire my own practice.
‘Am I dancing Alone’ is in all senses a personal project for Vrinda. It manifested from a desire to connect with a people Vrinda has long observed. From her own sense of foreignness she began to create portraits, and through portraiture, she was able to see some of the values and characters of the Vrajbasis and so her role in the village felt a little less like someone dancing alone.
Vrinda’s ‘Am I Dancing Alone’ is currently exhibiting at the Uki Post Office until 3 April 2019.