ArtInnJaipur, a residency I just worked at, is located in “pink city” – Jaipur, in Rajasthan, India.

Devena Singh, founder and director or ArtInnJaipur

Devena Singh, founder and director or ArtInnJaipur

The founder and director Devena Singh describes it as: “…ArtInnJaipur is a concept which seeks to bring international art and craft people, face to face with the art, artists and craftspeople of Rajasthan so that there is an exchange of cultures, ideas and art forms real time and on location.

It features art workshops in miniature paintings, handmade paper, wooden toys, textiles, jewellery making, blue pottery….

The facilities include boarding, meals, workshops, an art environment and excursions for international artists to the local artists villages, conducted tours and one to one teaching of local arts.

We have recently added an in-house block printing unit too.
Traditional art has literally been taken over by commercialization. New avenues which pay marginally more are threatening to make various art forms extinct. For example a security guard earns more money than a traditional sarangi player…so what’s going to motivate the artist to continue his art? Do we let the art die? This is the case with a number of art forms which could become extinct or fall prey to mass ‘handicraftism’.

I started ArtInnJaipur with a twofold objective. One, get people from around the world to discover the pure, unadulterated art forms of Rajasthan. And two, to give an opportunity to local artisans to interact, learn and work with these artists to give a new modern expression to their creativity…all this while earning an extra buck for their families.

My inspirations were the local artists, and the truly rich and varied art and craft traditions of Rajasthan which need to be celebrated the world over.

Also, this venture is an ‘all women’s affair’. ArtInnJaipur is headed and run by women committed to the cause.

Year on year we are seeing a surge of people applying for a residency in ArtInnJaipur. These are art professors [from some of the most renowned art schools around the globe], students, painters, writers, paper makers, jewellery designers, marketing and management professionals who want to take an art break.

These people come looking for an experience which is pure, an experience which is for real. They come here to give expression to their art forms and give it a distinct stamp of exclusiveness…” (Excerpt from Time India interview).

It is paid residency, so it is not for everybody – but if it is for you, then the interaction with local craft people, masters in their fields, is priceless. Besides artists, textile designers, writers and others who come independently, the residency is also visited by recipients of various grants and fellowships, including Fulbright.

Emma Ford and Devena Singh

Emma Ford and Devena Singh

While working with Mr. Gopal ji, block printing master, I’ve met Lorna Murray, textile artist from Sydney, who comes to ArtInnJaipur regularly to work with fabrics, and young painter Emma Ford for the UK, who just finished her BA in Fine Art from Falmouth University, and received Ferdinand Zweig Scholarship from her university to come to India to learn miniature painting.

Gopal ji, block printing master

Gopal ji, block printing master

Since there are 6 rooms, it is very likely that whoever comes will meet another creative person from some other part of the world, another great aspect of residencies in general. The children and families are welcome as well, and yes, everybody was very tolerant although my two small children were screaming, crying, fighting and trying to mix paint, use blocks and otherwise disturb working process. Devena was very supportive and the boys are looking forward to visit her again because now they know that it means we will travel by rickshaw!

Challenges of mothers/artists

Challenge of being mother/artist