‘Neb ki rasoi se /
from the kitchens of Neb’
Dimensions of the book:
6 x 8.3 inches ( 15.24 x 21.082 cms)
Displayed on 16 feet Wooden Plank
Ink and Acrylic on paper
Book Format Installation | 2016
Images: Abhishek Scariya
As a part of the residency**, I created a series of drawings, documenting the kitchens and favourite eatables of the artists from Neb Sarai. I aimed at juxtaposing these drawings with images of figures, landscapes, architecture, people and conversations with local people around, my experience and other impressions of the elements/objects existing at the Neb Sarai. The work also had suggestions of a travelogue in the making.
With Neb Sarai having Jaats as the most influential group in small original places, with most farmers becoming realtors, the village becoming home to many students and artists both Indian & foreign, multi-storied buildings providing income to rental villagers and affordable accommodation to young artists, art studios & centres adding sparkle to the village and IGNOU being a walking distance away, the work is an initiative to bring together (through this work) these artists and common stories of their lives while documenting visuals from their kitchens and eating habits through the medium of drawings
I aimed at spending the duration of the residency just walking through the streets of the village interacting and documenting these artists and their eating habits.
Along with the villagers, there are artists (young emerging, studios and also noted artists) living in the area from major art colleges in India like M.S.U. Baroda, College Of Art New Delhi, S.N. School Hyderabad, Govt. College of Arts and Crafts Chandigarh amongst many others and even foreigners.
According to a newspaper clipping “the pursuit of art and “struggle” go hand in hand, but for broke artists living on a dream to make it big, Neb Sarai village in south Delhi along with Maidan Garhi offers an affordable roof and unlimited canvas space… While the villagers of Neb Sarai don’t understand all of the ideas behind the art, they are appreciative enough to let their own children assist and learn from tomorrow’s masters… Without the artists, Neb Sarai is mere haphazard growth- unauthorized and lacking basic amenities for its mushrooming population… Many young and emerging artists who arrive in Delhi choose to stay at Neb Sarai because of affordable accommodation and being close to the mainstream market like the very popular Lado Sarai and Saket / Khirkee (Khoj) and also close to universities like IGNOU”.
Another article in a popular art blog by an eminent art writer/ critic Johny ML says “The artists have taken the space for a nominal rent a few months back and since then they have been living there converting a corner of the parking lot into a temporary kitchen. During day time they do their work and at night they sleep there. With the affordable space near to the other posh South Delhi colonies the artists can make their money by doing some commission works or taking up regular jobs.”
“Food Unites…. In this world, there is no greater medium than food to unite people of conflicting natures. Whether the difference is philosophical, political or even dietary, just about everyone will put aside differences to come together and eat. Such is the power of the tongue! It is on this understanding that the Vedic culture of hospitality is based. Food in its most pure form is the best conduit to express respect and love to every living being.” 
The idea was to overlap and document the contradictions existing as seen through my eyes. for an artist, the idea of living a daily life pretty much overlaps with the profession. The physical area of practice ( of art ) may extend to any area of the house/ studio including the kitchen.
For example, what is a stone grinder doing in a kitchen? a cover of a popular whiskey brand being used as a brush holder, cups of chai being kept at the same area of fibre casting sculpture amongst many more.
**In the months of November and December 2016, I was a part of a 21 days international artists residency, organized by the Art for Change foundation and Reflection art Studio. This year it was held at NIV art center based in Neb sarai. The theme for this year’s residency was “SMALL: Literally speaking | Metaphorically speaking | Culturally speaking” The post here, documents my work made there.
 One of many sarais (inns or rest houses) which were built in the area during and Delhi Sultanate period, including, Katwaria Sarai, Yusuf Sarai, Lado Sarai, Sheikh Sarai and Kallu Sarai etc.
 Source: Wikipedia: (Jaat: जाट, also spelt Jatt: जट्ट) The Jaat people are considered as the merged descendants of Indo-Aryans, Indo-Scythian tribes of the region, merging to form the Jaat people. They are a traditionally agricultural community in Northern India and Pakistan. Originally pastoralists in the lower Indus river-valley of Sindh, Jaats migrated north into the Punjab region, Delhi, Rajputana, and the western Gangetic Plain in late medieval times. Primarily of Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths, they now live mostly in the Indian states of Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh.
 The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), established by an Act of Parliament in 1985, named after the former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, run by the central government of India. It was made to build an inclusive knowledge society through inclusive education. The purpose is to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) by offering high-quality teaching through the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode.
 http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com; article by Risha Chitlangia & Richi Verma dated Sep 29 2015
 artehelka.wordpress.com; article by Johny ML dated Sept 22, 2014
 ffl.org – food for life: article by Paul Rodney Turner