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Not so far from the madding crowd

THE ASIAN AGE. | SOMUDRA BANERJEE
Published : Dec 7, 2016, 12:07 am IST
Updated : Dec 7, 2016, 7:33 am IST

A 90-minutes drive from the city will take you to Art Village, a serene retreat for lovers of all things fine.

Patrons gather at the recreation centre to listen to artist Kunal Naik give a demonstration on morchangs or jaw harps.
 Patrons gather at the recreation centre to listen to artist Kunal Naik give a demonstration on morchangs or jaw harps.

Nestled in the scenic valley of Karjat, about 100 kms from Mumbai, a community of artists has built Art Village, with the aim to celebrate all disciplines of art, literature, cinema, theatre, as well as nature. The village is not only an escape from the madding crowd, but also a haven for patrons and creative minds alike.

Potter Khushboo Madnani next to her ceramic works.Potter Khushboo Madnani next to her ceramic works.

Ganga Kadakia, an artist and the brainchild behind the project takes us around the three acres complex with a garden centre, the recreation centre, the living quarters, the amphitheatre and a country-style kitchen and dining area. By the end of the next year a meditation centre and a sundial is also likely to pop up here.

A sustainable structure
The Art Village’s design is a result of artists and architects working together to create a one-of-its-kind campus in the country. Spearheaded by renowned architect Kiran Waghela (of Hunnarshala Foundation) along with a team of artists and architects, the project explores earth, wood, stone, mosaic and several sustainable materials and building techniques.

Artist Khushbu Mehta at the gallery space next to her art work.Artist Khushbu Mehta at the gallery space next to her art work.

The recreation centre has been built using rammed earth technique, while the living quarters are built using cob construction — both of which are not just sustainable construction procedures but also provide the most natural living experience.

“Our objective was to create a campus that broke away from the stereotype of city life. The atmosphere here encourages you to experience nature in its rawest form and inspires you to bring out your creative best,” explains Ganga.

Artist Khushbu Mehta at the gallery space next to her art work.Artist Kunal Naik in front of his assemblage artwork

Eco-friendly campus life
The primary objective of the Art Village is to provide a trans-disciplinary learning space for the already initiated. With artists especially, Ganga is confident that the space will find the right kind of people. Speaking further on the project she says, “We are an artist community and we have faculties who will be teaching and conducting workshops.

We are reaching out because we feel there is not enough interaction between the real world and the artist world. I believe every person should know one artist in her lifetime because they’re thinkers and they’re the conscience of the society.”

With a fine balance between serious art and meditative recreation for the public, Ganga and her team arrange two-days or five-days programmes. “There are days when we open the doors to general public — people who just want to come and stay in a sustainable earth structure. We welcome people who just want to look around and get to know the artists. Then there are times, when we will open the door for artist
residencies and collaborations,” she adds.

The living quarters at the Art Village; (inset) founders of Art Village, Ganga and Kunal Kadakia.The living quarters at the Art Village; (inset) founders of Art Village, Ganga and Kunal Kadakia.

Philosophy of Art Village
“The best part about the village is that everyone is an artist here,” smiles Ganga. The main  aim of the art centre is to offer artists, nature lovers, aspiring artists and even non-artists access to a tastefully created state-of-the-art creative retreat, a place where they can live and enjoy the freedom and simulation of the natural environment.

Upcoming event: A two-day yoga camp with yoga master Ganga Puri Rox.
Cost: Rs 8,500
For futher information log onto http://artvillage.co/

Tags: literature, karjat, art village