Communicating through Dance

Ady Elzam is an artist, dancer, teacher and choreographer, with a deep technical background in contemporary dance, improvisation and performance. For many years Ady has been exploring movement dynamics in partner work, his main interest is in the communication that creates clear understanding between partners, as if no words are needed. This applies also to the relationship of the observer and the observed. As a performer he’s interested in the artist’s ability to expose oneself, evoke emotion in the audience, and the connection between the two. Recently he performed at the ICCR Kolkata "It Couldn’t Have Happened Before” (Choreographed by Dafi Altabeb & Nini Moshe, the piece is danced and co-created by Ady Elzam and Noga Golan)

When did you first realize that dance was your passion? 

When I was 5 or 6 years old, I have seen Michael Jackson dancing on TV and I was imitating him.
My family saw me and was clapping and smiling, it made me feel the first test of dancing in front of an audience. Then when I was 6 ,I started to go to gymnastic but didn’t like it, so at the age of 10 I joined an Israeli folklore dance group and have been dancing ever since...

How did you decide to follow it and what keeps you energized in its pursuit?

From the beginning it was clear to me that I was doing what I love to do, But when I was maybe 14, I met the choreographer that made me want to grow up to be like him. Then it was clear to me that this is what I will do in my life. What kept me going all this years is the feeling that if I don’t dance I feel empty and have no reason to get out of bed. I have no choice but to dance, it's my life. 

How did you get interested in movement dynamics?

From the work, as the work became deeper to me I had to explore more into it

Do you think improvisation is an art, and choreography is a way of achieving this? 

Improvisation is an art, no doubt about that. And its one of my main practices. Choreography is the art of setting the piece or charting the frame for it. Dancers and Choreographers use improvisation to explore a theme or an idea. 

You can see more on my website about this:

Who has been a significant source of inspiration/influence for you in improvisation?

In Improvisation my main inspirations are, Sharona Florsheim, Katie Duck, Yuval Goldshtein...

You have performed here in India. Do you notice a difference in audience compared to other places where you have performed?

I think the there are small differences in what is acceptable culturally and how people watch and respond to the performance. It was lovely to have a talk in the end of the performance and hear the audience speak.

Do you have any advice for aspiring performers?

Yes, practice practice practice! The only way to become a performer is to log as many hours possible of on-stage experience. If you can perform every week do it, if can every day do it. Go to dance classes, acting classes, singing classes, practice improvisation every day, make your performance practice part of your everyday life. You can perform on the street or in the studio. 


Canvas of human emotions

ToTran Bich Thuy is a Lecturer of College of Arts, Hue University and also the Member of Thua Thien Hue Literature and Arts Association Member of Vietnam Fine Art Association.  She was one of the  20 contemporary artists from Vietnam whose work was exhibited at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Kolkata. This exhibition was organised in collaboration with the Alliance française du Bengale and the Embassy of the Republic of Vietnam in India.

When did you first start painting?

I started painting in 1988.

How supportive are your parents and the rest of your family when it comes to your being a painter?

When I got myself enrolled for fine arts study, my family supported my decision. After graduation, I stayed at the university to teach and my parents and family gave me permission.

What inspires your paintings? How would you describe them?

Human life and nature have given me inspiration. My works depict human emotions in so many different levels, My statement:”Personally, the most precious happiness is found in sadness. The unhappy is found when happiness is gone” And “Let's explore the world of color, you will find the echo of your life”

Which was your biggest exhibition?

I have participated in many international exhibitions and I still think that my solo exhibition in Thailand in 2003 at Silpakorn University was the biggest and most meaningful exhibition for me. Through that I could assert the process of artistic activity and personal style.

Do you think being a female artist makes a difference?

As a female artist I find no difference much from male artists

What is present scenario of contemporary art in Vietnam?

Contemporary Vietnamese art is a strong innovation from the previous periods. It is the embodiment of visual art with changes in expression, color, and construction. Structure and light in the work.

Vietnam's mainstream art has three main trends: the main current was the Indochina fine arts in the years 1930-1945, the Socialist realism fine art in the years 1954-1984, and DOIMOI fine arts in the 1990s onwards (the word đổi mới was used in extenso in Vietnamese spelling to specify it country of origin and characteristics)

DOIMOI painting enhances the role of the individual, personal style, and freedom of artistic creation. Artists are aware of and deeply aware of the role of independent, self-selecting ways of impact on the community and society.

The Vietnamese art scene is changing with the changes of modern society. Vietnamese artists have been approaching the world of painting in general. Vietnamese artists are living together, co-writing and sharing common issues with foreign artists. They always aspire to achieve a space of contemporary art with the desire to contribute to create a new entity: Contemporary Vietnamese art.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

As a painter who has experience of more than 20 years of composition, through my own experiences, I can give some of the necessary feelings for the painter to maintain his creative work:
1- Always nurture feelings about life
2- Regularly develop skill training
3- Always improve the knowledge to improve the creative thinking.


Art Reflecting Life

Damon Kowarsky studied printmaking at Victorian College of the Arts and Glasgow School of Art, and Advanced Figure Drawing with Godwin Bradbeer at RMIT. Since graduating he has travelled extensively in South Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Architecture and the colours of earth and sky inspire much of his work. Kowarsky is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards including Toyota Community Spirit Artist Travel Award, Australian Print Workshop Collie Print Trust Emerging Victorian Printmakers Scholarship, Creative Victoria New Works Grant and Australia Council Asia-Australia Creative Partnerships Grant. Kowarsky exhibits regularly in Australia and abroad, holding solo exhibitions in cities including Melbourne, Hong Kong, New York, Philadelphia, Wellington, Cairo, Damascus, Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. He is currently working on a series of etchings inspired by recent travels in India, Oman, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  Abhijit Ganguly speaks to Damon Kowarsky.

You started out as a classical musician. What made you swap your tuba for a pencil and paper?
I hadn't begun traveling when I was playing music. But, looking back, and in light of how much I have traveled over the years, I probably realized that traveling with a tuba was completely impractical. Whereas, with pencil and paper you can pretty much go anywhere and record the world around you...which is something I've been doing now for quite a while.   

Do you see yourself primarily as an artist or a printmaker?

I was trained as a print maker which means I worked mainly with etchings of copper plates.  I work in a studio that's a print studio.  I do consider myself a print maker of course I am an artist but print making is my medium so generally, I talk about myself as a print maker.   

Is printmaking more or less popular than some other art forms?

Print making has a slightly different function to other forms of art.  It's both very portable and practical in that it exists in its editions so that there are multiple copies of each artwork.  Which means that it's easy to transport and easy to share with people.  So, whereas a painting or a sculpture generally will only exist in a single place and is often quite cumbersome to move around, a print can be rolled in a tube and shipped anywhere.  Which, in light of how much I travel and the exhibitions I have held around the world, this makes it extremely useful. 

As an artist, what inspires you in your artwork?

I get inspiration by looking at the world around me and taking the time to draw the things I see.   So a lot of my work is concerned with architecture and people.  I spend a lot of time sitting and drawing the people and the buildings that I see.  Because in every place those things are different and they give me a lot of ideas for my work. 

Damon with honorary consul for Pakistan Melbourne Ms Ayesha Bux
It’s obvious you have travelled a lot. Where has been your favourite place to sketch and why?

I have traveled a lot and there have been many places that I'd love to visit.  Of course, India is fantastic but most recently I was in the west of France, the region called Britanny.  It's extremely beautiful, it's a rural area so everything's got lots of greenery, trees, fields, rolling hills, beautiful little old houses.  And that was absolutely wonderful spending 3 months drawing there. 

It was in 1997 when you first visited Pakistan. How has the art market changed since then? 

The art market, in Pakistan has developed quite considerably since 1997.  Since then the country open up to quite a lot of international exposure as the artist's there receive the recognition they deserve, and also with changes to the world – mainly through the internet and social media – it's meant that art is accessible from many places and to many places. 

Many of your activities are realized in collaboration with other partners. How important are collaborations for you? 

Collaboration is very important as it allows me to get new and different ideas, both from my work and the other artists I work with.  I find, each time I collaborate, I learn something new about making art and my work changes...often in ways I wouldn't have been able to predict.  So, there are two driving forces behind my art.  The first is the travel which exposes me to so many new things, people, places and ideas.  And also to the collaboration which is a way of getting some of those ideas and generally having a lot of fun, too.   

In an age of digital imagery and mass media,  do you think original prints are still important?

I think original prints are even more important in the digital age.  Digital reproduction has made producing original images so easy but the surface of a digital print has uniformity.  It's made by a machine.  It has flatness.  Whereas, when you produce a print by hand, it's much richer.  And, I think, with the ubiquity of digital images -or not just digital images, it could be with machine-made anything whether it's clothes or food or art – the things that are made by hand are so much more distinctive and people respond to them because they have that presence of “craft” in them.  


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