Sanskriti Foundation

Residency experience at Sanskriti Foundation in New Delhi, India.

by Diane Henshaw

"During my time there I found the location really inspirational and the culture of India a great fresh new dynamic to introduce into my work.
The residency itself is simplistic but very adequate in regard to facilities - the food is vedic cuisine, completely vegetarian which was great as I am veggie.
The facilityies at the Kendra include an excellent comprehensive library with books on contemporary art practice in India and the History of Indian art. The library also covered Western Art and artists books and publications left by resident artists since the beginning of Sanskriti Kendra.
There are two museums on site, a museum of ordinary objects and a musem of ceramics from all over India - both a facinating archive and splendid visual resource for the artists staying at the centre. There is also a ceramic studio that has the capacity to fire v. large pieces. The computer facilities at Sanskriti are basic - however compared to another residency I had stayed at in South India in 2000 the technical kit worked great - they even have a photocopier.
Artists staying at Sanskriti receive two days free taxi rides for 5 hrs a day into the big smoke, a great safe option for lone women or nervous travellers. The taxi man is a wealth of knowledge - from who the butcher the baker or candlestick maker is right up to Indian National History and Vedic History / Language studies.
The residency is situated is usually one of those places in India one would try and avoid due to the usual stigma of pollution, poverty, overpopulation and the dreaded Delhi Belly. This was my third trip to the continent and 2nd time in Delhi - and I have to say I was well impressed by how modern Delhi has become and less polluted the city is. The people there are much miore literate in English and their approach to travellers was altogether much more friendly.
One criticism of the centre would perhaps be the number of black outs and lack of entertainment after dinner, which is late at 8pm. If you enjoy a tipple of any kind its up the road to the off license for a bottle of gin and back to your chalet for consumption - a difficult one if your Irish!
Mr O.P. Jain, who runs Sanskriti, is a patron for the arts in India and holds musical happennings for the artistic community regularly at the centre with splendid feasts of the most delicious cuisine. Rajisthani Musicians came to play when I was at the centre, which was really funky groovin Indian tunes. There were also visitors from all over the world representing various arts centres, being entertained and toured around the 6 acre site at Sanskriti. They were all, like myself, impressed by the very high standards at the centre.
India for sure is a place to go, to not only find yourself spiritually, but to also be fed culturally with a full visual feast of the wildest, self perpetuating environment that an artist could ever wish for."

Diane Henshaw went to the Sanskriti Kendra Foundation in India on a Res Artis & Tyrone Gutherie Centre International Exchange for artists residency during January 2006.