The Story Behind the Story
by Ann Oppenhimer
Scott Rothstein, a textile artist, donated 14 drawings to the Folk Art Society’s auction. These intricate pen-and-ink drawings were made by the family of Ganesh Jogi and Teju Ben of Ahmedabad, India. Fascinated by these mysterious works from the other side of the world, I wrote to the donor requesting more information. Rothstein replied that he had met these artists while his wife was stationed in India with the U.S. State Department. They also collected many other Indian art works during the several years they spent there before being transferred to Tokyo.
Rothstein took photographs of many of these artists who live and work in India. He also put me in touch with Minhazz Majumdar, a writer in India, who was researching and promoting the work of folk artists there. She agreed to write an article for the Folk Art Messenger and, in fact, sent two.
On the Internet I found an article written by a fifth-grade student, Ramya Ahuja, in Delhi, who described a visit by Ganesh and Teju to her school. The artists sang songs and drew pictures for the students. She wrote that the artists were part of a group of people whose occupation is to sing "in the street in the morning and wake the city folk." I found out later that Rothstein had arranged this residency for the artists.
By remarkable coincidence, Tony Rajer, the Folk Art Society’s roving world-wide reporter, was in India in November for a conference at Nek Chand’s Rock Garden in Chandigarh. There he met Minhazz Majumdar, one of the delegates, and Joba and Montu Chitrakar, musical performers at the conference. My horizons have been broadened by this remarkable exchange.
ANN OPPENHIMER is the interim director of the Folk Art Society of America
As seen in:
[#65] Vol. 18, No. 2, Winter 2006$15.00 ppd