India is home to about 700 indigenous and tribal groups. Much of their knowledge and skills which are handed down through the generations are being lost to oblivion. This is where Sthalantar Research Foundation steps in and works with these groups to study, research and disseminate knowledge about the cultural aspects of these communities. It was started in 2019 by Hanoz Patel and Viral Pandya, who share a passion for preserving the magic in the palms of craftspeople. They work closely with these communities to observe and analyse their ethnographic patterns. In doing so they provide an insider’s perspective and animate their insights through extensive video and photo documentation. Sthalantar uncovers their oral histories and intangible knowledge systems by chronicling their theological aspects, origin stories, music and their ecological connections & nature stories. They do so by building rapport with the members of these groups, who open themselves up completely in a dynamic of mutual respect and transparency. Using this primary research, Sthalantar is working on building a national database.
When they identify scopes to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for these craftspeople, they seek out collaborations in the form of CSR activities and institutional initiatives. They also join forces with design firms which can intervene and educate artists and assist them in creating products that are in demand in the market. They have worked extensively with the Rabari community in western India, among others. During one of their collaborations with Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, they documented the music, dance and musical instruments of 10 communities in Sikkim. They also support artisans by creating video catalogues of their work that the artisan can save on his or her phone and share whenever the opportunity strikes. Sthalantar’s videos are published on its YouTube channel as well.
It is only fitting that Sthalantar means migration in Gujarati- the foundation derives inspiration from the circular nature of existence and breathes new life into the idea of going back to one’s roots.
Hanoz Patel has been working with the Rabari community since 2011, in close association with a French anthropologist. He has done a lot of extensive fieldwork within the community and has also contributed several articles to academic journals. He focuses on migration patterns as well as social and kinship relations and ecological knowledge of the communities that he works with. This includes studying their strategies for migration diplomacy and the flock genealogy of their livestock. Over the course of 3 years, he has worked with indigenous communities from 10 states, conducting research on their arts and crafts. He has also been documenting local melas all over India since 2015. He contributes regularly to Sahapedia by creating modules for them and sharing his insight on the art of different communities, archaeology, Gujarati language, etc. Aside from that, he has done auditing work for a private company and served as a consultant on the refurbishment project of Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal. Museums have also consulted with him on the job of documentation, archiving and display. He started working with Viral Pandya in 2016. Mr Pandya is a visual and fine artist who did his Masters from Ireland. He initially worked with Mr Patel in documenting the Rabari community for Sahapedia. After working on different aspects for a few years, they united to form Sthalantar in 2019. Mr Pandya’s specialisation is in the field of videography and visual documentation, and his expertise translates into compassionate chemistry between the lens and the artisans that come in touch with the Foundation.
Not uploaded yet.
Not uploaded yet.
Not uploaded yet.