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The Mud Men

June 23, 2017 2017年6月23日

 

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Nestled in the heart of Mumbai is Dharavi, the third largest slum in the world. With a staggering population of around a million people living in 550 acres of land, Dharavi is home to hundreds of businesses and small-scale industries. Tucked in the center of it all is Kumbharwada, a massive locality that’s home to over 150 families that, even to this day, make their livelihood through pottery making. Established between 1935 and 1940, this potter community is comprised of residents who migrated from places like Saurashtra and Kutch in western India; some of the families that work here today are the fifth or sixth generation of these migrants.


坐落于孟买中心的达拉维(Dharavi)是世界第三大贫民窟。在这片550英亩的土地上,却密集地居住着约100万人。这里有数百间小企业和各种小型工业。而位于这个贫民窟的中心的Kumbharwada地区,则居住着150多个家庭,直到今日,这些家庭仍然靠制陶来维持生计。这个制陶社区形成于1935年至1940年期间,生活在这里的居民最初都是从印度西部的索拉什(Saurashtra)和卡奇(Kutch)这些地方迁移过来的。今天,在这里工作的家庭已经是这些移民的第5代或第6代。

I made my way through the winding lanes of Kumbharwad one morning, and with each turn I took, the road seemed to get narrower. Amidst the morning sunlight peeking in through thatched roofs, the banter of women conversing outside of their homes, the soapy water flowing around my ankles, the energy of excited kids rushing off to school, and the honking of bicycles coming every which way, I could see potters outside of their houses, diligently working with mud and clay as they worked towards their daily quotas.


穿梭于Kumbharwad曲折的小巷间,每一次转弯,我都感觉前面的小巷又变窄了一些。早晨的阳光穿过茅草屋顶,妇女们在家门外嘻笑聊天,肥皂水泡不时划过我的脚踝处,充满活力的小孩正快步跑向学校,自行车的喇叭声从四面八方传来,而陶工们则在家门外用泥和粘土勤勉地工作着,努力完成每日的工作额。

“I started a little early today, at around seven in the morning, because I want to attend a wedding happening here in the evening,” says Ismail, a potter who lives with his wife and 6-year-old son here. Ismail has been involved in this line of work ever since he was a kid. His father was also a potter but passed away while Ismail was young, leaving the responsibility of maintaining the craft and providing for the family up to him. He tells me that he usually prefers making oil lamps because he thinks he can make more oil lamps in an hour than he would other items.


“我今天开始得早一些,大概早上七点左右就开始工作了,因为我晚上想要参加这里举办的一场婚礼。”陶工Ismail说道。他和妻子以及6岁的儿子就住在这里。Ismail从小就开始干这一行。他的父亲也是陶工,但在Ismail还很年轻的时候就已经去世,留给他的是延续这项工艺和照顾这个家庭的责任。他告诉我,他一般更喜欢做油灯,因为他认为自己在一小时内可以做出的油灯数量比做其它的产品要多。

The process of pottery making in Kumbharwada begins with soil being brought in from the outskirts of Mumbai, which is then mixed and turned into clay. Pots are then molded by hand and left to dry in the sun. Once dried, they’re transferred into a furnace to be baked. Once that’s done, the pots are ready for the markets. It’s a creation cycle that never stops here; every family is focused and equally doing their part to keep the cycle going. “I’ve made all kinds of items in my time here in Kumbharwaada, like oil lamps, flower pots, water pots, dessert cups, and more,” says Jeetu Chitroda, one of the seasoned potters of the community. “This is our daily life. We earn our living here. We’ve been here all our lives. We were kids here at one time, and now, we’re lucky enough to see our own kids playing in the very same alleys that we grew up in.”


在Kumbharwada,制陶行业的第一个环节是从孟买郊区购买泥土,然后通过混合变成制陶用的粘土。通过手工成型后的陶器会被放置在阳光下晾干。一旦干透后,就可以将陶器转入火炉里烧制。这一步完成后,就可以准备将这些陶器拿到市场上去卖。在这里,制陶是一个永无止境的循环过程,每个家庭都致力于这一个过程,尽其所能使这个循环不断运转下去。当地经验丰富的陶艺家之一Jeetu Chitroda说:“在 Kumbharwaada,我制作过各种各样的陶器,像油灯、花盆、水盆、甜点杯等等,这就是我们的日常生活。我们通过这种方式来维持生计。我们一辈子生活在这里。我们也曾经是这里长大的孩子,而现在,很幸运地,我们可以看到自己的小孩在我们长大的小巷里玩耍。”

However, the families here are adapting to the changing times, with some transitioning into a more contemporary lifestyle. Nowadays, it’s normal to see a family here with the father and mother staying in the community to keep the pottery business going while their son leaves in pursuit of a different career. Beyond the preservation of traditions and culture, one of the most interesting aspects of the community is seeing how the population is divided into Hindus and Muslims, all of whom live together in harmony. After observing their lifestyle and adaptive nature, I’ve come to see that Kumbharwaada isn’t simply a potter’s hub wedged in the largest metropolitan in the country. Instead, I now see it as a symbol of a successful rural ideology that’s breathing and injecting life in a rapidly changing urban landscape.


然而,这里的家庭也正在慢慢适应时代的变化,开始逐渐过渡到一种更现代的生活方式。如今,有越来越多的家庭,父母留在当地维持陶器生意,而他们的儿子则离开这里,去追寻不一样的事业。除了传统和文化的传承问题,当地社区最有趣的另一方面是,在这里生活的人们主要信奉印度教和穆斯林,而他们都能和睦相处在一起。在观察完他们的生活方式,以及他们适应环境的能力之后,我明白到,Kumbharwaada 并不只是一个夹在印度大都会城市缝隙中的制陶中心。相反,在我看来,它代表着一种成功的农村意识形态,充满活力,为瞬息万变的城市注入蓬勃的生命力。

Videographer, Photographer & Contributor: Omkar Phatak


供稿人,图片摄影师与视频摄影师: Omkar Phatak

A Short Tour of Manila

March 3, 2016 2016年3月3日

In her photography, Catherine Ramos (aka Kleng Ramos) likes to capture the life, charm, energy and the colors of the everyday scenarios that she encounters in the streets of the Philippines, or wherever she goes to travel. She first started shooting in high school with a simple point and shoot digital camera, and ever since then she gets a thrill in capturing things that are rarely seen.


Sa kanyang potograpya, gusto ni Catherine Ramos (na kilala rin bilang Kleng Ramos) na kumuha ng larawan ng buhay, alindog, enerhiya at  mga kulay ng araw-araw na senaryo na nakakasalubong niya sa mga lansangan ng Pilipinas, o saan man siya maglakbay. Nagsimula siyang kumuha ng larawan noong siya ay nasa mataas na paaralan na may simple point at shoot digital camera, at simula noon ay nakakuha siya ng kagalakan sa pagkuha ng larawan ng mga bagay na pambihirang makita.

When asked about Manila, her home city, Catherine tells us, “What I like the most in this city is that there’s always something going on here. This city is busy, yet so lively.” For her, there are always new hang-out places, dining and drinking places pop up constantly, and there never seem to be a shortage of events. The locals in Manila also really know how to have fun and be hospitable.


Nang tanungin siya tungkol sa Maynila na kanyang tahanang lungsod, ikinuwento sa amin ni Catherine na, “Ang pinakagusto ko sa lungsod na ito ay laging mayroong kakaiba dito. Ang lungsod na ito ay abala ngunit buhay na buhay.” Para sa kanya, laging maraming lugar na pasyalan, kainan at inumang lugar na patuloy na lumalabas, at waring hindi kailanman nauubusan ng mga pagdiriwang. Alam din ng mga tao sa Maynila kung paano magsaya at maging magiliw sa panauhin.

Catherine comes from San Juan City, Metro Manila. This is the city that she loves the most and is most familiar with. This part of Manila offers many little surprises to visitors, from cool neighborhood street art to delicious food served in its small local restaurants. While not exactly a pedestrian city, she tells us Manila is rapidly making improvements to make the city more walkable and safer.


Si Catherine ay nagmula sa Lungsod ng San Juan, Kalakhang Maynila. Ito ang lungsod na pinaka gustong-gusto niya at pinaka pamilyar sa kanya. Ang bahagi ng Maynilang ito ay nag-aalok ng maraming maliliit na sorpresa sa mga bisita mula sa magagandang sining sa kalsada ng lugar hanggang sa masasarap na inihahaing pagkain sa maliliit na lokal na restawran dito. Habang hindi pa eksaktong lungsod ng mga taong naglalakad, sinabi niya na mabilis na nagkakaroon ng mga pagbabago ang Maynila para malakaran nang ligtas ang lungsod.

“If you are into thrift shops or you would like to shop for vintage and artsy stuff,” Catherine tells us, “you can go to Cubao X, which is located in Cubao-Quezon City, or the Future Market in Manila.” If you want to check it out, Catherine advises that Future Market only happens on Saturdays. At the thrift stores in Cubao X, you can find used clothing, shoes, vintage memorabilias, old cameras, watches, furnitures, vinyl records, books and much more.


“Kung ikaw ay mahilig mamili sa mga ukay-ukay o gusto mong mamili ng antigo at masining na kagamitan,” sinabi sa amin ni Catherine na, “maaari kang magpunta sa Cubao X, na matatagpuan sa Cubao-Lungsod ng Quezon, o sa Future Market sa Maynila.” Kung gusto mong mamili, ipinapayo ni Catherine na ang Future Market  ay nagaganap lamang tuwing Sabado. Sa mga ukay-ukay sa Cubao X, makikita mo ang mga nagamit nang kasuotan, sapatos, antigong mga palamuti, lumang kamera, relo, muwebles, vinyl records, aklat at marami pang iba.

If you want to eat and have a good variety of choices, Catherine recommends that you try the Greenfield Weekend Market on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City. “A lot of food stalls are set up there during the weekends. Apart from that, artwork and vintage finds could also be bought there,” she says. Sometimes, it is possible to catch some musical performances from local bands while enjoying your food at this park.


Kung gusto mong kumain at magkaroon ng maraming pagpipilian, inirerekomenda ni Catherine na subukan mo ang Greenfield Weekend Market sa Shaw Boulevard sa Lungsod ng Mandaluyong. “Maraming puwesto ng pagkain doon tuwing huling linggo. Bukod doon, mabibili rin ang mga gawang-sining at antigo,” kuwento niya. Minsan, maaaring makakita ng ilang musikang pagtatanghal mula sa mga lokal na banda habang kumakain sa parkeng ito.

“If you would like to watch local bands, be it mainstream or indie,” Catherine says, “I suggest that you go to Saguijo and B-Side which are located in Makati City, or Route 196 which is located in Quezon City.” For contemporary art, Catherine highly recommends the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo City, Rizal. While it is actually just outside of Manila, the museum is a very famous destination for art enthusiasts.


“Kung gusto mong manood ng mga lokal na banda, mapa- mainstream o indie,” kuwento ni Catherine, “Iminumungkahi ko na magpunta ka sa Saguijo at B-Side na matatagpuan sa Lungsod ng Makati, o Route 196 na matatagpuan sa Lungsod ng Quezon.”Para sa mga napapanahong sining, higit na inirerekomenda ni Catherine ang Pinto Art Museum sa Lungsod ng Antipolo sa Rizal. Habang sa katunayan, ito ay nasa labas ng Maynila, ang museo ay napakasikat na destinasyon para sa mga tagahanga ng sining.

“Nowadays,” Catherine says, “people here in Manila are starting to favor more local cafes, even though famous coffee chains could be found in almost every street – especially around the busy areas of Manila.” To try the local brews, she recommends checking out Local Edition, Yardstick and Commune, which are located in Makati City.


“Sa kasalukuyan,” kuwento ni Catherine, “ang mga tao dito sa Maynila ay nagsisimulang higit na paboran ang mga lokal na kapehan, kahit na ang mga kilalang tindahan ng kape ay matatagpuan sa halos lahat ng kalsada– lalo na sa buong abalang lugar ng Maynila.” Para subukan ang lokal na paggawa ng kape, inirekomenda niya na magpunta sa Local Edition, Yardstick at Commune, na matatagpuan sa Lungsod ng Makati.

As a street photographer, Ramos has come across a lot of different encounters while out shooting. There was one time when she approached a homeless woman to ask if she could take a portrait of her. “Despite the hardships that the woman obviously had been through, I was amazed how excited and happy she was when I asked her to be photographed,” Catherine says, “That encounter made me realize a lot of things and I can say that it was the most memorable experience I had so far while shooting the streets of Manila.”


Bilang litratista ng lansangan, naranasan ni Ramos ang maraming iba’t ibang hamon habang kumukuha ng larawan. Isang beses nang lumapit siya sa babaeng walang tahanan para hilingin kung maaari siyang makakuha ng kanyang litrato. “Sa kabila ng kahirapan na halatang pinagdaraanan ng babae, humanga ako kung gaano siya kasabik at kasaya nang hilingin ko na kunan siya ng litrato,” kuwento ni Catherine, “Ang karanasang iyon ay nagmulat sa akin sa maraming bagay at masasabi ko na ito ang pinaka hindi malilimutang karanasan na mayroon ako habang kumukuha ng larawan sa mga lansangan ng Maynila.”

Website: triplekleng.blogspot.com
VSCO Gridvsco.co/klengramos

 

Contributor: Leon Yan
Photographer: Kleng Ramos


Website: triplekleng.blogspot.com
VSCO Grid: vsco.co/klengramos

 

Kontribyutor: Leon Yan
Litratista: Kleng Ramos