Amys News

Khoj 2002 International Artists Workshop
Mysore, India

Notes from the Editor

Coming to India for the first time and attending an artists workshop for the first time has been a rich and overwhelming experience for me. Everything in Mysore is new: the customs of the people, the fusion of city and farm, the colours of the earth and blossoms of the trees, the smell of jasmine everywhere and a chaos that adds life to the world that I find myself describing as “crazy”, bizarre”, “beautiful”, “wild”, “surreal”.

All that is happening around is news to me. This fact coupled with a curiosity to find out more about this amazing place – the great as well as the difficult things – was the motivation for creating a newspaper during and about my time in Mysore.

Invitation to contribute in Kanada, the local language

Observing the way we began to work at Khoj, processing ideas alone and then sharing them with the others and finding individual spaces for production and display. I wanted to make something that we could all contribute to, if desired. Requesting stories for the newspaper resulted in many suggestions, anecdotes and conversations between everyone at Khoj.

Artists Michael Tuffery, Mahabubur Rahman and Mandy Ridley

The paper is named after a newsagents shop in East London I noticed on the evening before I left for India 12 days ago. It seemed fitting because the paper really is a personal account. Not a diary exactly, but a record of incidents including the mundane – even a leaf falling from a coconut tree is news to me. I like the idea that if every person made a newspaper, how different they would be. The news stories have developed organically through conversation with those around; the staff at the Olive Garden, Khoj organisers and artists and local people visiting the evening slide shows. Some of these interactions gave leads to stories outside the Olive Garden. They were a great pleasure to pursue.

Every Mysore resident knows environmentalist, Snake Shyam, who rescues wondering snakes from people’s homes and releases them in the wild.

The process has been a lot of fun, but not without some unforeseen hic-cups, like the branch that fell on the cable resulting in a power cut at Sachu’s place where the computer is and where I am writing this now. And there were the typists in town that typed slowly and didn’t understand my handwriting and there were the punctures on the motorbike and all the times of getting lost.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped make this paper a reality: all the Khoj organizers and artists, the Giri’s and staff at the Olive Garden, Norman for his wisdom of Mysore, all the interviewees and Jacob for volunteering to assist me and working in such a dedicated way throughout.

Amy Plant, Mysore, 29th October 2002

Contributors: Oommen Jacob, Ranbir Kaleka, Smt. Susheelkumari, Mr Khan, Umalakshmi, Christoph Storz, Bala Subrahamanya, Abinanth Kumar, Akash, Jacob Jari, Suresh Kumar, Kanthraj, Snake Shyam, the Police Commissioner, the basket weavers, Mandy Ridley, Carla Gvagliardi, Yanseel Penpa, Khan Srabon, the Mysore Pinjarapole Society, Shambhavi Singh and Sachu.

Contributors Akash and Umalakshmi with their copies of Amy’s News hot off the press on 1st November 2002