NEW DELHI | 24 - 28 SEPTEMBER 2018

At the School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University Delhi
Other participating colleges: College of Art, Delhi and Faculty of Fine Arts, Jamia Milia Islamia University

Erasures & Reclamations: Labour and Migration in Song explored a module of community engagement via symbolic creative interventions through song and its aesthetic accompaniments to create a recuperative space for narration that may otherwise escape the dominant and/or the ‘official’.

Responding to the third semester module on community engagement, public art and collaborative practices at SCCE, AUD and the growing interest among art students across various institutions to work in the public domain, the workshop aimed to study and engage the contradictions presented by our subjectivities in relation to our own formations when we consider and enact projects of a collaborative and participatory nature. It proposed to deploy the ‘sonic’ as a point of interest and departure.

Ra began the workshop by inviting participating to draw up their family trees and turn these into ‘Praise Poems’, an important cultural and political form in the African context, that works with self-affirmation and awareness, and equally analysis and critique. The process, grounded in this initial enquiry of the self, began to move outwards to explore other narratives and forms that spoke of reading and writing beyond the formal text. With the support of our knowledge partners Centre for Community Knowledge, AUD the students engaged with diverse set of resource persons who spoke of their practices and engagements with communities around them – this included CCK Researchers themselves, Irshad Alam, a Qissa Goi practitioner from Old Delhi, Arati Jaiman of Gurgaon ki Awaaz, the only civil society-run community radio station in the NCR region of Delhi, Mahesh (MC Freezak) and Sandeep (MC Akshay Kumar), rappers and members of Khirkee 17. Each interaction allowed the group to critically reflect on the modes of engagement and to examine the different speech acts, poems and songs as texts. The process critically looked at theory and praxis, using each site and each interaction as a focus, to raise a set of generative enquiries around this relationship of the self and the other.

The workshop was developed by Rangoato Hlasane Ra, a cultural worker, DJ, educator and co-founder of Keleketla! Library in Johannesburg. He holds a masters degree in Visual Art from the University of Johannesburg and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. Rangoato is committed to ‘art/s education’ with a social justice agenda and is also an active member of ARAC (Another Roadmap Africa Cluster).