Making Bithooras – Bithooras par haath pa Chaap
National Craft Museum, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. installed between 10th – 30th March 2011.
Andrew Burton, Panna Devi, Keso, Shiv Devi, Lakshmi, Bhagmali, Sharman, Vidya, Pushpa
'Making Bithooras' proposes a different perspective on collaborative working. To make this exhibition British artist Andrew Burton teamed up with a group of bithoora makers from Ghitorni Village on the edge of Delhi. Drawing together contemporary visual art and the traditional process of creating bithooras they have created an exhibition that fuses Indian and European sensibilities for the relationship between structure, material and pattern.
Bithooras are fuel stores made from thousands of ophlas – hand-sized cow dung cakes and clad with gobar – raw cow dung. Despite the laborious process involved in
their creation, culminating in a spontaneous burst of abstract pattern making, these are temporary and functional structures which last at most a few years before they are dismantled. Generally made from a single material – cow dung, and made exclusively by women without the intervention of any tool other than the human hand, bithooras defy categorisation as craft, architecture or art.
By situating a group of bithooras in the National Craft Museum in New Delhi, the first time these structures have been seen in this context and by foregrounding the womens' elaborations on their usual practice, the exhibition seeks to assert the importance of these objects, both as spectacular artifacts and as an expression of innate sculptural creativity.
Supported by The British Council, Sanskriti Foundation and Newcastle University HASS Research Fund.
Special thanks to Shani Chambers (research), Gunjan Sharma (translation) and Ajay Tripathi (facilitation)