Drawings: Shampa Shah
In order to do what you do, you need to walk. Walking is what brings the words to you, what allows you to hear the rhythms of the words as you write them in your head. One foot forward, and then the other foot forward, the double drumbeat of your heart. Two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, two feet. This, and then that. That, and then this. Writing begins in the body, it is the music of the body, and even if the words have meaning, can sometimes have meaning, the music of the words is where the meanings begin. You sit at your desk in order to write down the words, but in your head you are still walking, always walking, and what you hear is the rhythm of your heart, the beating of your heart.
Mandelstam: “I wonder how many pairs of sandals Dante wore out while working on the Commedia.” Writing as a lesser form of dance.
Text: Paul Auster
Shampa Shah’s practice in clay is located in the dialogue between the Traditional and the Modern overlapping with her writing and curating. Working in ceramics for three decades, she has exhibited widely in India and abroad. She established the Ceramic Section at Indira Gandhi National Museum of Man (IGRMS) Bhopal and headed it for over two decades, during which she curated important exhibitions around mythology, tribal, folk and contemporary art and craft practices including the permanent exhibition Mythological trail. Five time recipient of All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) Award, she has also received the Junior National Fellowship of Ministry of Human Resource and of Roopankar Bharat Bhavan. She writes widely on Contemporary Art, Literature & Storytelling traditions of India and has many publications including ‘Tribal Crafts of M.P.’ from Mapin.