Pahadaan da Laan
MIXED MEDIA INSTALLATION
HOLDING THE STORIES, EXPERIENCES AND FEELINGS OF PAHADI WOMEN
5 SITES | HIMACHAL PRADESH | 2021
Pahadaan da Laan. The idea. The experience. The installation. The interactions. And a short film about it all.
About the installation
Garadu is a woolen garment traditionally made at home, especially by the women of the pastoral Gaddi people, belonging to the Dhauladhar foothills in Himachal. Crafted in different forms and shapes and coming to several uses, it has many diverse names and types - gardi, pattu, chadar, langha, etc., carrying in them collective and individual histories. However, the stories and art of the Gaddi community have been slowly disappearing – their lifestyles adversely affected by the market, modernity and other external influences and pressures. As the community is forced to move away from nomadic pastoralism, the Garadu too is becoming invisible. Through our exhibition, we bring Garadu's art and stories back amongst all of us - with an intentional eye and ear, embracing and highlighting women’s work and voices within them. The Garadu is to us, not just a garment, but a symbol – of identity, emotions, lived experiences, an eco-based lifestyle, a sustainable economy, labour, knowledge, art and skill, memory and touch. Pahada Da Laan is our attempt to discover and bring to the fore, the mountain life, the mountain landscape, its changes and the many stories, tales and characters that lay hidden inside Garadu's own story.
About the artists
We are a group of young women living in the Himalayas, nestled in the foothills of Dhauladhar Mountain Range - and call ourselves Dhaarchidi, the Himalayan Sparrow in pahadi language. Our lives are interwoven with mountains and nature, where we breathe, think, deliberate, dream, act and live. Our bodies, work, walks, and everyday lives - all revolve around mountains, rivers, streams, pastures and fields, animals, natural produce, geography, etc. In the past many decades, dominant discourses and narratives, especially around development and the environment, have been dominated by the upper-class, upper-caste, cis-male perspective, while women, people from other genders and sexual identities, Dalits along with people of other historically marginalised and oppressed communities are rendered vulnerable to inequalities and struggles. As mountain women we have seen that our presence remains constantly invisibilised, our experiences and voices ignored and our stories unheard and often unspoken. In recognising this, we felt the need for a process where we, young women and people from varied contexts can come together, share and engage in reflective practices about the diverse perspectives of women. Dhaarchidi is an effort to listen into the voices of pahadi women and to have a local dialogue process. We spread our wings to build understanding about issues that affect us by observing, understanding, deliberating and reflecting upon our everydayness and surrounding spaces from different perspectives.
Dhaarchidi is Rashi Salaria, Manasi Pinto, Bindu, Aditi V, Anjali Devi, Soujanyaa Boruah, Manisha and Aditi Pinto
Some special memories
Rakkar-Mohli: 11-19 September 2021 | Alongside the exhibition was a balcony space in the old house where people sat on mats and did embroidery, drawing, craft and chats together.
Paddar: 22 September 2021 | Impromptu dancing that began during the sharing, and the presence of the khaddi, women who made the garadu/chadar.
Kandbari: 24 October - 10 November 2021 | The chaddar on which everyone left their handprints, theatre performance by Kahani ki Dukaan, visit by Tenacious Bee Collective women.
Ladwada: 20 November 2021 | Movie screening, time spent in the courtyard with chakki and other activities, people who were part of our photo series seeing their own photos.
Gunehr: 27-29 November 2021 | Theatre games using the garadu, walking and taking our exhibition to different courtyards and public spaces, and a khichdi night with dadis.
Raksha devi and Paddar Mahila Bunkar Samuh | Paddar village
Shyamu + family | Rakkar village
Rajat and family | Kamlehr village
Salaria family | Sidhbari village
Bindu and family | Nain village
Indra devi and family | Saperu village
Manisha and family | Ladwada village
Saroj devi | Kandbari Village
Kahani ki Dukan | Gunehr village
Jen Hoover (Aana Jana), Syamantak De, Kiran | Trinetra Studio
Ishaan, Swati, Sindoo, Shaun, Niranjani, Pratibha, Asanda, Manasaguru, Shakir, Johnny, Twinkle