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This book is part of the material programming for the overarching 5 Year Plan project and is the second in a series of three massive ashram-based, collaborative, cloth artists’ book projects by artist/organizer and independent publisher Aaron Sinift. The 5 Year Plan book was followed by the OTHER IMAGININGS in Autumn of 2016. A third cloth book in the series (as yet untitled) will provide a comprehensive meta-narrative from the planting and growing of the seeds for the fabrics of the seeds to the distribution of the finished books, while also articulating the entire 5 Year Plan which seeks to collaboratively build sustainable economic networks of cultural preservation and production within India and beyond. (Note that the 5 Year Plan and OTHER IMAGININGS books are available as a set for $2,500.)
 
OTHER IMAGININGS is curated by Aaron Sinift with Kahkashan Khan and Jitendra Kumar, in cooperation with the Sri Gandhi Ashram and various ashrams in Uttar Pradesh, India. The book begins with artworks produced by Gandhi ashrams for a village audience, a form of Pop Art for a counter-industrial culture. The project explores universal aspects of Gandhian visual culture in discourse with contemporary international artists and new ashram artist commissions. The book itself is printed onto home-spun khadi of the type Gandhi wore so that the means and content are united in its form. The starting point is Gandhi’s vision of a pastoralist India, and the ashrams he established to provide self-sufficiency through spinning and weaving homespun cotton ‘khadi’ cloth. These khadi ashrams continue this tradition of service into the present, employing approximately 10 million people throughout India. These workers are primarily women who are often the sole support for their families.
 
Time is a major factor in the book, requiring more than 3 years of work to produce. Each thread is spun by hand, requiring concentration and thousands of hours of work. Color separations and silkscreen images were mostly traced by hand (not photo-transferred), all woodblocks were cut and printed by hand. There are almost no mechanical processes used to produce this book. Working with Gandhi ashrams we’ve created a truly contemporary swadeshi artwork.Many of the artworks in the book are printed here for the very last time, by the very people who produced them in the 70s-2000s.
 
The book is woodblock and silkscreen-printed by Sri Gandhi Ashram, Akbarpur; The Chinmoyee Kala Niketan, Varanasi; and Rudraksh, Jaipur. The cover was handwoven on a jacquard loom in Varanasi, and the artwork by Jenny Holzer was handwoven in Orissa from hand-spun organic cotton by Kala Aur Katha. Profits from sales of the book are shared among producers in India, 5YearPlan.org, and Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Accompanying this book, which is contained in a jhola bag, is a copy of “Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule” By M.K. Gandhi, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad-380 014 @ Navajivan Trust, 1938 ISBN 978-81-7229-070-2
 
Excerpt from the OTHER IMAGININGS companion book:
As western modes of advertising and television began to be adopted in India on a mass level in the early ’90s, there was a shift towards a generic global style in popular culture. The uniquely S. Asian styles of portrayal which flourished in the pre-digital era began to disappear as the imagination began to be more aggressively colonized. As vestiges of Gandhi ashram visual culture become rarer in public it is evident that we are nearing the end of a particular visual era that helped define a unique sense of Gandhian social purpose and national identity as popularly understood after Indian Independence.
 
The images in this book are traces of a world that exists even today and continues to provide a baseline means of self-sufficiency for tens of millions of people. Yet how we express ourselves is being transformed by our present circumstances and at this very moment is searching for its compelling voice. Perhaps this book is an opportunity to catch a glimpse before it’s gone of a more local sensibility that is unimpressed by glamour and worldliness, more focused on the ideals of communal harmony and love of country, particularly its rural pastoralist culture, what Gandhiji called “India’s heart and soul.”
 
As we reflect on these unique qualities (rasa), it is important as well to consider the present, the point from which we encounter the future, and from which we must find our voice. OTHER IMAGININGS is intended to create community (you included) and assert absolute equivalence among all participants so that no labor, no effort, no artist known or unknown is prized above any other. This artwork is an attempt to weave together stories rooted in community in order to create a primal resource for understanding and collaboration.
 
PROJECT TEAM:
Aaron Sinift, Beacon, NY, USA, (aasinift@hotmail.com), artist; founder & curator of 5YearPlan.org
Kahkashan Khan, Varanasi, U.P. India (kdollykhan@gmail.com), formerly of World Literacy of Canada (WLC); co-founder of Tana Bana India 2009
Jitendra Kumar, Varanasi, U.P. India (jitendrakumar1215@gmail.com), formerly of World Literacy of Canada (WLC); co-founder of Tana Bana 2009
Nandita Devraj, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India (nandita.devraj@gmail.com), Rudraksh Printers; Milk & Meadows Farm; Canine Bodhisattva
Mr. Vijay Kumar Handa, Gandhi Hindustani Sahitya Sabbha, New Delhi, India (vk2handa@yahoo.in), Mentor to 5 Year Plan.org
Steven Warner, Iowa City, Iowa, USA (estebandraws@me.com), web designer; gardener; chocolatier; creative ally
 
PRODUCTION PARTNERS:
Tana Bana, Varanasi, UP. India (production logistics, research, cover weaving), https://www.facebook.com/Thenationprideofindia?fref=ts
Sri Gandhi Ashram; Akbarpur, U.P. India (printers)
Sri Gandhi Ashram; Sarnath, UP. India (Khadi)
Chinmoyee Kala Niketan, Varanasi, UP India (woodblock printers) https://www.facebook.com/CKNINDIA?fref=ts
Rudraksh, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India (printers, book fabrication) nandita.devraj@gmail.com
Manav Seva Sannidhi; Modinagar U.P. India (Khadi) adityakumar09@yahoo.com
Kala Ar Katha, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India (Hlzwer weaving) http://www.kalaaurkatha.com/
 
CONTENTS:
Cover design + Title Page-Aaron Sinift
1. Gandhiji
2. Introduction
3. Weater, J.P. Jasisawal
4. Spinner, (SGA)
5. Zapshiv, Duncan Tontiuh Smith
6. 20, Pradyumna Kumar
7. Dr Ambedkar,
8. Potter, J.P. Inisawal (S.G.A.)
9. Honest Penny, Judith Linhares
10. Truth, artist unknown (S.G.A.)
11. Village, artist unknown
12. Rabindrahath Tagore, (S.G.A.)
13. Lists IV: A Much More Detailed than Requested Reconstruction” Dorothy Ianonne
14. Urbanity, Shieyasi Chatterjee
15. Fux, Sumitro Basak
16. Burning Bride, Pushpa Kumari for Kusum Pathak, D. 2013, Age 24
17. Hunter,
18. India Gate,
19. Jai Hind, Jaisawal
20. Kargil, Jaisawal
21. Kashmire, artist unknown
22. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, David Pearce
23. Life Science, artist unknown
24. Technology, Jaisawal
25. 3 Monkeys, Orijit Sen
26. Survival (83.85’), Jenny Holzer
27. Untitled (Chain), San Gordon
28. Reverberation for Hudson, Lisa Beck
29. Qtub Minar, artist unknown
30. Peter & Lion, Jaisawal
31. Peter & Lion, Jaisawal
32. Caligraphic Study II, Philip Traffe
33. Tiger Talk, Judith Linharres
34. Burqua, Sutanu Panigrami
35. Mend Piece, Yoko Ono
36. Thank yous, and acknowlegements
39. Sri Gandhi, Ashram Akbarpur, group portrait
Back cover, service (seva)
 
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Frank Williams, Marguerite Byrum, Marshall Weber, Felice Tebbe, Booklyn.org, The Boston Athenaeum, Stanford University, The Menil Collection Library, Yoko Ono, Theodor Bale, Chuck Hildebrand, Hudson, Gurpreet Sidhu & Orijit Sen, People Tree, Raymond Foye, Prof. Andy Rotman, Janna White, Minhaaz Majumdar, Pratiti Sarkar Basu, CIMA Gallery, Kolkata, Robyn Beeche.