Category Archives: Travel

Are They Star Maps?

When I show these works of art by Jitish Kallat to kids at the Winnipeg Art Gallery they always think they must be star maps. The children are quite surprised when I tell them they are really raindrop maps or designs. The artist Jitish Kallat calls them Rain Studies. He makes them during the monsoon season in Mumbai, India.

Kallat uses watercolor pencils to make dark circles on woven paper.  Then during rain showers he steps outside and holds up the paper to the sky, allowing rain to fall on it for a certain number of breath cycles.  A breath cycle is breathing in and then out.  The raindrops leave an imprint on the dark circle and he sprays it to preserve it and then wipes the paper dry. In these three pieces, you can see how the length of time Kallat remains outside makes a difference in the designs.  Kallat has noted the number of breath cycles he held each circle up to the rain. The first one was for two breath cycles, the second for four and the third for seven.  Kallat uses a BC abbreviation and he pencils in the number of breath cycles by each dark circle.  He also records the time and date of each rain study. During some of the rain studies, it must have been raining quite hard and in others, quite lightly. The images do look very starlike, almost like astronomical charts. Kallat says in a New York Times interview that nature makes the artwork.  He doesn’t.  

Kallat’s Rain Studies are part of the current Vision Exchange exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It closes in just a couple of weeks so if you haven’t seen it already you want to be sure to go before summer ends.  

Other posts about the Vision Exchange exhibit……..

Warli Art

Don’t Forget About Us

Wrestling Farmers

Carpet Conversation

Sports Equipment and Salt

Hyphenated Lives

 

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Filed under Art, India, winnipeg art gallery

He Might See A Tiger Now

My husband Dave had his heart set on seeing a wild tiger when we visited India in 2008, so we planned a safari in Ranthambore National Park. The temperature was a chilly four degrees as we clambered into our open-air jeep at six in the morning to begin our tiger hunt. I was happy to be wedged in tightly between Dave and a banker from London named Sidney. The two men on either side of me blocked the wind and helped keep me warm.
When we visited in 2008 it wasn’t easy to see a tiger in the wild in India. There were only about 1000 left in the whole country. That’s because even in protected areas poachers continued to kill tigers and sell them to Chinese vendors. Their clients used tiger organs for making traditional medicines.  The tiger population was also dwindling because people were cutting down trees for fuel, destroying the tiger’s forest habitat.  
Despite this, everyone said Ranthambore was the place where we had the best chance of seeing a tiger. We spent three and a half hours looking for one. Our jeep stopped several times so our driver could talk to tiger-trackers who roam Ranthambore looking for the elusive beasts. Despite their best advice, the closest we came to seeing a tiger was to see the paw prints of one in the sand. 
When we were in India over a decade ago a new initiative had just been started to increase the tiger population. I was so happy to read this week that it has been successful. India now has nearly 3000 tigers triple that of the 2008 numbers when we visited. By 2022 they hope to have nearly doubled the current population. Increased forest cover and stricter enforcement of conservation laws have made a huge difference.  

I am not sure if I am ready for another pre-dawn freezing tiger safari, so if you’d like to volunteer to accompany my husband on his next, hopefully, more successful hunt for a tiger in India, I’d be glad to give you my seat in the jeep. 

Other posts………..

India Assaults the Senses

Beggars Everywhere

The Heroes Walk

 

 

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Filed under India, Nature

Warli Art- Kids Love It and You Will Too!

Gauri Gill is a photographer whose work is currently on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in their Vision Exchange exhibit.

In 2013 Gill visited the community of Ganjad in the north-western part of India. She was doing art with the school children there. An artist in Ganjad named Rajesh Vangad told Gauri Gill about traditional Warli painting, an art form that may have started more than 5000 years ago. The paintings were traditionally done only with white pigment made by grinding rice into a powder and mixing it with water. The women of the tribe created the artwork on the walls of their adobe houses. The paintings showed the social life and the daily routines of the Warli tribe. Warli art uses mainly circles, triangles, and squares.

After learning about Warli art from Rajesh Vangad, Gauri Gill decided to photograph him at different places in the village and invite him to draw Warli art on her photos.  Here Rajesh stands in front of the community school. His Warli art covers the photo.

A closer look at the Warli drawings Rajesh Vangad did reveal that he depicted children in the classroom and on the grounds of the school participating in all kinds of activities.  

Children writing the alphabet

Children in the science lab

Children on computers

Children doing math

Children on swings

Children having lunch

The school-age visitors I take on tours of the Winnipeg Art Gallery love looking for all these different scenes in the artwork. I have included only a few of the dozens of small scenes in the piece entitled School from Gill and Vangad’s  The Flight series.  

I always invite the children to use the Warli technique to make drawings of their own depicting themselves doing something they enjoy. Their artwork is simply delightful.

This girl drew herself painting a picture

Here another WAG visitor showed himself playing basketball

This girl loves golf

This one loves ballet

And here is a soccer player

Warli art is for everyone and the children love its simplicity and the ease with which they can create portraits with white chalk on black construction paper. 

There are several other pieces by Rajesh Vangad and Gauri Gill on display in the Vision Exchange Exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Why not come and see them and then try making some Warli art of your own?  

Other posts……….

Don’t Forget About Us

Carpet Conversation

Sports Equipment and Salt

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Filed under Art, India, winnipeg art gallery

Gearing Up

Yesterday I did a 25 km. bike ride. Last week I managed a thirty-kilometer one but that was because I got a little lost. I’m gearing up for a bicycle trip we are booked to take near the end of September in Croatia.

Cycling with family in around Lake Konstanz

We did a cycling trip around Lake Konstanz in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria two years ago and had such a good time we have booked another cycling tour with the same company. I decided in July I’d start gearing up for the trip hence my weekly longer cycling rides and regular trips to the gym to strengthen leg and arm muscles. I’m gearing up in other ways too.

My friend Marie in Split Croatia. A place we will definitely want to visit based on Marie’s great photos.

 I’ve been checking out the great photos my friend Marie posted on her blog On The Road Again this last month when she and her husband Bill were in Croatia.  I’ve gleaned lots of tips for things we might want to see from Bill and Marie’s adventures. I’ve got two books on hold at the Millenium Library that I will be picking up today. The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna and Girl at War by Sara Novic. Both are set in Croatia.  I’ve compiled a list of other books I’ll add to my Kindle before we leave on our trip so I can read them on the road and en route to Croatia. I’ve decided I will try to learn one thing about Croatian history or geography each week.  

St. Servelus Church photo from the Istra Tourist Board site

My fact for this week is that Croatia was occupied by the Romans from about 11 BC to 450 AD. In the city of Buje where our cycling tour begins the baroque St. Servulus Church was built on the remains of a Roman temple. Stay tuned for more updates as I gear up for our September cycling adventure in Croatia. 

Posts about our other cycling trip……

I Drank A Beer in Austria

I Got Lost Twice Yesterday

56 Kilometers Under Our Tires

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Filed under Croatia, Travel

Did You Know Your Home Has A Walk Score?

I was looking up directions to a house where I’d been invited to lunch yesterday. I wanted to cycle there. As I was searching for the best bike route online I came across the walking score for the address. I had no idea what a walking score might be.I discovered there is a website called Walk Score that allows you to search for the address of a place and it tells you how easy it would be to walk from that location to stores, schools, medical care and other amenities you might need to use on a regular basis. Here’s the walk score for the address where I was headed yesterday. My search also provided information on the ease of access to bus service and if there were safe bike routes nearby.  100 is the best score.  So while the house where I had lunch is in a lovely, friendly neighborhood it is also in a car-dependent zone and not the best location if you want to walk, bike or take the bus instead of a car. Here are the scores for my address.  I apparently live in a walker and bus rider’s paradise and in a very bikeable area.  Since we are a single car family and my husband needs the car every day this makes our location a wise choice especially for me.  

It was interesting to discover that before you buy or rent a home there is an easy way to check how accessible it is in a variety of environmentally friendly ways. 

What’s your home’s walk score? 

Other posts……..

A Woonerf In My Back Lane

The Driedgers Bike Boblo Island

Riding the Bus Alone At Age 5

 

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Filed under Travel, Winnipeg

Are You A Streaker, A Stroller or a Scholar?

Visiting the Lucy Maud Montgomery House in Prince Edward Island many years ago.

I was reading a CBC story about the new interpretative center opening in July at the site of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s home in Prince Edward Island. Montgomery has gained international fame for her classic novel Anne of Green Gables. The new center which tells the story of Montgomery’s life has been designed to meet the needs of three different kinds of visitors- the streaker, the stroller and the scholar. I hadn’t heard of those designations before but they intrigued me. I discovered the terms had been coined by an Australian museum director named George McDonald.

My husband walks briskly through an outdoor art display in Merida Mexico.  

A streaker is someone who walks briskly through a museum or art gallery or special event. They pay little attention to details, gather general impressions and may finish their visit to an exhibit without really being impacted by it at all. They are there to check the visit off their list, to say “I’ve been there” or “I’ve done that.” These kinds of visitors are also sometimes called fish because they just glide through the exhibit. 

Dave and I were in stroller mode when we visited a history museum in Quebec City.

A stroller moves more slowly and pays more attention.  They will probably stop at various places to learn more. They will absorb more than a streaker and pick up more details particularly about certain parts of an exhibit that catch their interest. They are there to have a good time but not necessarily to do a whole lot of learning. These kinds of visitors are also sometimes called butterflies because they flutter through a museum or art gallery or interpretive center alighting here and there to enjoy something that attracts their attention. 

My husband Dave was definitely in scholar mode when we visited the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, Japan.

A scholar is someone who is very interested in learning and reflecting.  They will move slowly through an exhibition looking at almost everything and reading all of the textual material.  You will see them lingering at certain points for extended periods of time. They are conscientious and diligent about having the full experience. They want to discover all the intimate details of an exhibit and ask questions. These kinds of visitors are sometimes called ants because they move very slowly and methodically and purposefully. 

Posing with Russian author Pushkin at the Wax Museum in Odessa Ukraine

Learning about streakers, strollers and scholars got me thinking that those terms might describe more than just museum visitors.  As we move through life are we streakers? Do we just rush through our busy days gliding mechanically from one obligation to another? Are we strollers? Do we take time to stop periodically to relish and enjoy experiences and events?  Are we scholars?  Are we thoughtful and purposeful? Do we read and think and reflect and question? 

At the Museum of Modern Art in New York posing with Van Gogh’s Starry Night

I think at various times and in various situations, I tend to be all three kinds of people or a combination of them. I know I don’t want to just streak through life never stopping to stroll or savor, reflect and enjoy.  But I also don’t want to spend so much time being the scholar that I accomplish little and never have time for fun. 

Are you a streaker, a stroller or a scholar? 

Other posts………

Visiting the MOMA

Feeling Sad About Odessa

Hiroshima

 

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Filed under Reflections, Travel

Don’t Forget About Us

In May of 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a formal apology in the House of Commons for the 1914 actions of the Canadian government when they refused entry into Canada to nearly 400 British citizens, mostly Sikh men, who had traveled from India to Vancouver on board a Japanese ship called The Komagata Maru. After spending nearly two months in the Vancouver harbor the ship was forced to return to India at naval gunpoint.  British soldiers boarded The Komagata Maru upon its arrival in Calcutta and a riot ensued during which twenty passengers died and many were arrested. The Canadian immigration rules at the time discriminated against people from South East Asia, rather favoring immigrants from England, Europe, and the United States.  In 1914 British Columbia was home to some 2000 people from India mostly Sikhs from the Punjab who had come to work there. Other citizens who knew very little about India, its historical achievements, religious diversity, or rich culture, worried they would eventually become outnumbered by Indian immigrants. The Canadian government had put all kinds of rules and regulations in place to make it very difficult for people from India to enter Canada but the passengers on board The Komagata Maru claimed the rules didn’t apply to them because they were British citizens. Their pleas were rejected. 

Don’t Forget About Us by Jagdeep Raina 2014

I learned about The Komagata Maru because of a current installation at the Winnipeg Art Gallery that is part of our Vision Exchange exhibit.  It contains work by Jagdeep Raina an artist from Guelph Ontario who used archival documents from Kashmiri and Punjabian Sikh diaspora communities as inspiration.  His mixed media exhibition includes a drawing based on a 1914  photograph of men who had traveled on board The Komagata Maru. He has entitled it Don’t Forget About Us. 

Wikipedia photo of the passengers on board the Komagata Maru

In his apology in the House of Commons in 2016 Prime Minister Trudeau said that The Komagata Maru passengers were no different than millions of other immigrants to Canada.  They were simply seeking refuge and a better life for their families. They had much to contribute to Canada and we failed them utterly.

Nimrat Randhawa with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the formal apology for the Komagata Maru incident, May 18, 2016.

Nimrat Randhawa, the great, great granddaughter of Gurdit Singh the man who organized the attempt by the Komagata Maru passengers to gain entry into Canada. The photo was taken at the time of Canada’s formal apology to the Komagata Maru passengers. 

During his apology the Prime Minister urged people not to forget the prejudice suffered by the Sikh community in Canada. Jagdeep Raina’s artwork is a good reminder of the Prime Minister’s request.   You can read more about the Komagata Maru incident on the website of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

Other posts………

A Carpet Conversation About the Universe

Sports Equipment and Salt

Hyphenated Lives

Wrestling Farmers

 

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Filed under Art, India, winnipeg art gallery