I have become a queer mixture of the East and the West; Out of place everywhere, at home nowhere.

 

Jawaharlal Nehru

What is culture?

Culture is a basic need, we believe. Our lives, society, food, clothes and the houses we live in are reflection of the cultures we grew up and live with.

 

We have been traveling a lot in India and Europe and as designers respond to the experiences we have. We have initiated project based on our experiences and have been fortunate enough to pursue them. We are working in a small village called Hundarman in Kargil and created a small community run museum; we have traveled to Sikkim to understand the Lepcha people and initiated a project dealing with old fashion.

 

UNTITLED, PUBLIC ART

PROJECT; LEH; LADAKH

While driving across Himalayas from Leh, Zanskar & Himachal, we realized that migrant labors from UP, Bihar, Rajasthan build all the roads. They come from landscapes and climates so different from the high Himalayas, living in tents in barren wide valleys building roads so that we can reach the most non-motorable terrains. The public art project was initiated behind this thought. We thought of doing something in Leh old town, a labor ghetto now, as a public art project. The project is an response to the "beauty" of Ladakh and what lies within.

 

We called this project "untitled" because we are looking at people who have no names, daily labors, coming all the way at 4000 m above sea level. The outcome will be drawing huge portraits of labors in the walls of building sin the old town. We decided to use "earth" instead of paint to draw; the kind of white clay earth which is used in plaster in Ladakh. This is a response to our commitment in using local materials and identity.

The project was initiated in the summer of 2017.

HUNDARMAN

KARGIL, LADAKH

As the jeeps from Kargil ride up the Hundarman hill, leaving behind the mighty Suru river, sign boards

appear warning people to watch out for landmines and possibility that the “ememy” might be watching. These are memories from 1971, when India and Pakistan were at war and the village of Hundarman was claimed by India. years. Only in the summer of 2015, we opened it and found the stories of people scattered around the village. Since last 3 years we managed to repair a part of one of the houses to start a small museum "Museum of Memories".

 

Our vision for Hundarman is to create a cultural center and a museum of memories. We aim to restore the historic village and offer avenues like art residencies, cultural festivals to flourish in the village and benefit the local community directly.

 

TEAM: Debasish Borah, Helene Thebault, Muzammil Hussain, Jagrut Raval

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THE ARTIST IS MISSING, PRAGUE, CZ

In last 25 years of Kashmir conflict more than 10,000 people have disappeared. This figure excludes the two hundred thousand Kashmiri Pundits, who are driven out of their homes in 1991. The project “The artist is missing” is in memory of missing Kashmiris; Muslims & Pundits; the people who gave us stories to share. The art works produced here are our reflections on borders and a commentary on the historical conflict between India & Pakistan. We are trying to look at the conflict as an outsider and translate our travels, conversations and memories from Jammu & Kashmir into works of art. Our attempt is at asking a fundamental question; till when?

Dr. Bhupen Hazarika asked the river Brahmaputra: “ On your mighty banks, the home to countless people, in spite of hearing their anguished cries so silently and unmindful, O Brahmaputra how can you flow?” “The artist is missing” is our attempt to look at the banks of Jhelum, into empty homes, our way of questioning the Jhelum; can’t you see the people who live in the vast stretches on your both side are screaming in grief, yet meekly, as always, O Jhelum, why do you flow without a protest?

IMPRESSIONS

TURTUK, LADAKH

Turtuk is located 175 kms west of Leh. The inhabitants of the village are Balti people, the Muslim equivalent of Sherpas, the expert mountain climbers. The village is one of the last remaining Balti village in India, as their sister villages went to other side of the border in Pakistan, dividing families, homes and relations. The thick border of India & Pakistan has scattered the lives of Balti people. The project is a continuation of Unlock Hundarman project initiated in 2015. Unlock Hundarman is a project where we are documenting lives of people living in border settlements and presenting their stories to the world.

The bustling village has an old historic settlement and a mosque (recently restored). The houses in

the village are made of stone and timber and their system of water distribution is outstanding. Out of many craft practises in the village, the remarkable ones are utensils made of stone and many other daily usage items made of bones and horns of ibex

 

TEAM: Debasish Borah & Helene Thebault

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POSTCARDS FROM DZONGU; NORTH SIKKIM

 The project was initiated to understand the Lepcha people in their own setting in Dzongu; learn, observe and get inspired from the way people live in the high tropical mountains. A personal approach to document a cultural landscape rich in natural heritage and inter-relationship of man & nature.

 

The approach is to record personal accounts of everyday people living in Dzongu. The approach is to see, observe and learn from the mundane. To learn from the regular and not celebrated for a change.

 

TEAM: Debasish Borah, Jagrut Raval

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VINTAGE

RENNES, FRANCE

VintAGE is an ongoing project. Mimicking the visual language of fashion prêt-à-porter brands, VintAGE celebrates old pieces of clothing (belonging to Helene’s family members), advertising their age, rather than their price. VintAGE visual campaign intends to bring a reflection upon our modes of consumption, the vicious cycle of endlessly wanting the fresh, the new, the latest, inevitably condemned to ‘’already has been’’ forever.

 

What if we started to value how long a product can last, how it can transcend generations, enveloping people of different eras, united by a physical heritage, worn as a statement against advanced capitalist and consumerist societies?

 

 

TEAM: Helene Thebault; Models: Helene Thebault & Tiphane Thebault.

 

RANDOMLY

LEH & DELHI

Randomly is a zine created by random drawings, doodles, short stories, sketches and photographs done by Helene & Debasish over last couple of years. We have traded randomly in markets of Leh & Delhi; not for money but for things. Anyone wanting to "buy" Randomly has to give us something in return except money; anything they desire.

 

The basic idea is to create a distopian situation in today's advance capitalist society, where everything can be bought by money. We got fruits, biscuits, pens, rings, cards etc in return.

 

TEAM: Debasish Borah & Helene Thebault

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HERITAGE WALK

KARGIL, LADAKH

Kargil Heritage Walk is a project initiated with Roots Collective. The Summer program 2015 titled "Narratives of Ladakh- Tales of the Silk Route" was conducted for primary research and investigation of the town. The participants have prepared drawings, sketches, stories of the town and its residents, documenting both tangible and intangible patrimony.

Since last two years we are working on creating a larger body of work to launch a heritage walk which is not only on paper, but also as a mobile application with interactive mediums.

 

A larger project which aims at city branding & identity of Kargil is also in the pipeline for 2016.

 

TEAM: Debasish Borah, Helene Thebault, Muzammil Hussain.

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GET IN TOUCH

Please drop an email at farsideindia@gmail.com to say hi !

or call  at +91-9435157821 (India) +33-769121008 (France)

We are on the road most of the times, either up in the cold Himalayas or in the misty tropical forests of North East India. We might not get back to you promptly. Please don't send emails for jobs; we don't hire, having said that we are always available for fruitful collaborations.

 

If you have a project in mind in areas of art, design, culture or travel in the places we work across Himalayas from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, please write to us. Depending on project situations we sometimes call people for internships/volunteering opportunities.

 

Please visit us in our studio at Leh at Upper Karzoo, a small quite village just 15 mins walk from Leh Bazar.

 

 

You can join us in the travel programs we offer in the Himalayas from time to time. Please write to us if you want us to plan your travels; we will be very happy to take you to exciting places in groups or individuals. Please write to us about your interest and places you want to visit and we will get to work.

 

We are not a regular travel agency and are personally involved with every initiative. We will offer you travel programs in places we know by back of our hands and we diligently plan things till the last detail for a fruitful travel experience.

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