"Duppata " is a NGO based in south of France that works for women empowerment in India.They have exhibitions annually of tribal and folk paintings of India at various locations in France.Artists from the Warli tribe from Maharashtra were invited for series of exhibitions that extended from 1st May 2014 to 31st May 2014.The artists invited were Reena Valvi, Shantaram Tumbda and Anil Vangad.All these artists hail from different parts of Dahanu district located north of Mumbai.My love for Indian folk and tribal art perhaps got me an invitation to visit France again.
Since my Marathi is fluent and I can speak some broken phrases in French I was invited to accompany these artists as a co-ordinator and translator.
Outside the TGV in Lyon
After a long flight and 2 hour train journey we reached Lyon at about six in evening and were ravenous.The only food available at that hour were crepes. Reena ordered a chicken salami crepe and was aghast to see it.She had not imagined it to look like that.She almost thought that she she was being fed raw meat.By evening we taken to a little beautiful chateau which was going to our home for next one month.
The event comprised of series of demonstrations and exhibitions by the Warli artists at different locations in Lyon.Bookstores, art galleries were main venues for the displays.Apart from this , the artists also did wall paintings in peoples homes in Lyon.
Shantaram and Reena at the first demonstration at a bookshop in Lyon
I had co authored a children's book in French based on a Gond folklore with Gond illustrations.The translation from english to french was done by Barbara Pillot .The book was officially launched in Lyon at a bookstore.
Another important event was at Eveux, Lyon .It was an demonstration and exhibition organised by another NGO called La Sims.The programme culminated in a dinner . This was the first official dinner attended by the artists and obviously they had no idea about the French table etiquettes . as soon as we sat down for dinner Shantaram picked up a bottle of red wine that was closest to him and topped his and Anil's glass to the brim much to the distaste of the French. According to the French tradition the glass of wine is never filled up to the brim only half glass is filled.Whereas in the Indian traditions filling up the glass up to the brim is the done thing.
In discussion with the president of La Sims and president of Duppata, Reena and Shantaram
To be continued..........