Drawing Year alumni return from India Residency
Nancy Haslam-Chance has recently returned from India where she and two other alumni spent three months teaching, drawing and travelling.
I’m freshly back in London. Adjusting to the bleak winter and life with a lot less friendly and animated conversation with strangers. Apart from seeing loved ones and beloved cats I feel a bit sad to be back. Especially after spending the last few days really reflecting on my trip, looking over my photos and thinking about what a truly amazing and varied experience it was! For a while India really felt like my home and I will miss all the friends I made out there. However, I’m really excited to get back into teaching with the Royal Drawing School’s Young Artist programme in London and to look over the body of work I created whilst I was away, and to start making new work.
I feel very lucky to have been awarded a place on the India residency and to have been able to spend three and a half months living in a new country. Me, Alice, Jackson, Alex and our guide for the first month Lottie, flew out in October and spent the first two weeks exploring and drawing our way around Delhi and the Himalayas before we settled in a busy industrial town called Modinagar, our home for two months. Here we would split half our week teaching drawing at the Indian Institute of Fine Art and the other half creating our own work in the studio space we were given as part of the residency. The accommodation was amazing and very spacious and it felt so nice to have so much room to move around and breath in. My bedroom became my yoga and interpretive dance studio.
The teaching was the highlight of the trip for me. The staff and students were so welcoming and the whole experience was such a wonderful way to learn about Indian culture. The Indian Institute of Fine Art or IIFA is quite a large university and we taught on all the different courses they have there- foundation, applied arts/graphic design, painting, fashion and textiles. The Indian university system is similar to the UK and most of our students were aged between eighteen and twenty-one. The students were amazing! So sweet-natured and hardworking. I feel very inspired by their enthusiasm and love for art and life. When we weren’t discussing their fantastic drawings I enjoyed our conversations about music, food, fashion, love and life in Modinagar.
The other highlight of my trip was the week I spent on my own in Sanskriti Museums in Delhi. This was like a mini residency within the residency, where we each got to have a break from the bustle of Modinagar and spend some focused time working on our own practices. The grounds at Sanskriti are so peaceful and beautiful and the permanent collection of textiles, everyday objects and ceramics housed there were very inspiring to draw from. I had a very happy and productive week here and made the work I was most pleased with from the trip. Me, Alice, Jackson and Alex plan to have an exhibition this year with work made in India or subsequently inspired by the trip. I feel very excited about this! We are currently looking for a venue and trying to think of a catchy name for the show. More details to come.
Thank you to everyone at the Royal Drawing School and everyone in India who made this residency happen. It really was a once in a lifetime, life changing and very very special trip!
Find out more about the IIFA residency in collaboration with Arts for India here