Most of us have traveled to the mountains at some point in our lives and if you are one of the lucky ones, you may have also enjoyed a music festival or art exhibition nestled in the mountains. However, the art exhibition that I am about to tell you about is like nothing you have ever experienced before primarily because of its picturesque location. It is being held in Ladakh, 'the Land of High Passes', one of the most beautiful regions in India. Snowcapped peaks, clear blue skies, barren mountains with winding rivers — you can experience it all. Sā Ladakh, as the exhibition is titled, is Asia's highest altitude land art exhibition on climate, culture and community, held at a height of 3600 m above sea level. The word ‘sā’ means ‘soil’ in the Ladakhi language.
This thought-provoking contemporary art exhibition has been making waves as it promises to promote local as well as international artists and spark meaningful cross-cultural conversations about sustainable practices and community engagement. The exhibition explores how we engage with mountain landscapes, their elements, culture and communities. It also delves into the theme of local identities and how it is constantly evolving. It also dissects the relevant climate questions surrounding environmental and climate challenges in high-altitude regions and what significance mountainous regions carry for the planet in the 21st century. The exhibition seeks to unravel and reflect on these themes and questions through land art and installations and also to proliferate a dialogue surrounding the next generation and how we can engage them in this creative process.
The exhibition showcases a diverse array of artworks, and challenge conventional artistic boundaries by incorporating discarded, renewable, and reusable materials into its captivating installations. From discarded materials to augmented reality experiences, Sā Ladakh pushes the boundaries of traditional artistic innovation. The exhibition boasts a stunning collection of site-specific art installations that use materials that might have otherwise ended up as waste, transforming them into compelling works of art. This unique approach not only highlights the creative ingenuity of the artists but also sheds light on the urgency of embracing sustainable practices to protect our environment.
One of the exhibition's highlights is a series of artist film screenings, providing visitors with a multi-sensory experience that delves into the intricate relationship between art and sustainability. The amalgamation of visual storytelling and environmental consciousness serves as a powerful tool to ignite discussions and inspire action within the community.
Internationally acclaimed artists, such as Vibha Galhotra, Nikolaus Geyrhalter/Robert Schabus, Małgorzata Stankiewicz, and others, have joined forces with local talents including Sharbendu De, Jigmet Angmo, Skarma Sonam Tashi, and Tsering Gurmet Kungyam. This fusion of local and global perspectives has created a unique synergy of artistic expression that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries.
Anurima Dazess Wangchuk, Birender Yadav, Anshu Singh, Anayat Ali, Tsering Motup, Stenzing Tankong, Tundup Churpon, and Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam are also among the visionary artists contributing to Sā Ladakh. Their creations, ranging from intricate sculptures to cutting-edge video projections, offer visitors a glimpse into the artists' interpretations of sustainability and community engagement.
The grand finale of Sā Ladakh promises to be a mesmerizing experience, as renowned German artist Philipp Frank takes the stage. Frank, celebrated for his awe-inspiring projections in natural settings, will explore the intricate connections between spirituality and the natural world. On the closing day of the exhibition, his performance promises to be a captivating blend of art, nature, and human consciousness.
Sā Ladakh, through its first edition, is creating not just another art exhibition but a movement that encourages us to rethink our relationship with the environment and our role in preserving it for future generations. By showcasing the immense potential of channelizing the power of art to promote environmental consciousness, the exhibition serves as a testament to the power of art in driving social change. The exhibition has sparked a dialogue that resonates beyond the gallery walls, transporting us to the real world and inspiring us all to embark on a journey toward a more sustainable and interconnected future.
Venue: Disko Valley near Shanti Stupa, Leh
Dates: 2nd to 22nd August 2023
Timings: 11 am to 6pm daily (Exhibition site)
2 pm to 4 pm (workshops)
The entry to the festival is free for all.
For detailed information about the schedule click here.
Follow Sā Ladakh here.
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