J a n e t M c E w a n

Soil Bite

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Where else might your path lead you?

Khoj International Artist Workshop. Bihar, India. 2009.

On Sept 19th 2009, I went along to 'Happidrome Three', an art event in Cornwall, UK, where artists Alexandra Zierle and Paul Carter were performing a new work 'In Search of the Other', which drew on Hermann Hesse's novel Siddhartha, the tale of the spiritual journey of a South Indian prince who eventually attains enlightenment though listening to the sounds of a river.
Although I could not stay for the whole performance, just before I left ,Paul and Alexandra invited me to choose a small letter from a box of envelopes. Without looking, I selected an envelope which had the words 'Where else might your path lead you? ' typed on the front.

As I had just been invited to participate in the Khoj Bihar 09 International Artists Workshop, and would be based only 90 kms from Bodh Gaya , where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, there seemed to be some serendipity to this gift and I decided to take the envelope with me to India, hoping that I might be able to vist the sacred site.
It transpired that our hosts had already arranged a trip for us to Bodh Gaya, where we stayed for a night and a day and I decided to take a photograph for Paul and Alexandra of this envelope at the site. I then began taking snapshots of my hand holding this message in some of the other locations I found myself in while in India. This visual diary became a bridge : a lense to help me question what I thought I was experiencing on this journey. Capturing the image was more difficult than I expected and I continually had trouble with focus and movement. From many images only 25 seemed worth printing and when I finally presentated them on the open day , alongside the special and now slightly tattered envelope, only 22 were appropriate - purely co-incidentally the same number as the number of artists participating in the workshop. On the last day of the workshops I invited everyone to choose a photograph to take home.

With thanks to Alexandra Zierle & Paul Carter.

A Further Shore: click here for images of intervention.

Khoj Bihar 09 : click here for more information.