Wednesday, 16 January 2019

One hundred and nineteen deeds of sale - art by Sue Williamson

When we speak about slave trade the common image that pops up in our minds is the plight of the Africans who were taken to western countries for hard labor. Slavery and slave trade dominated during the period of colonization which served as a perfect platform for all forms of suppression, oppression, and torture. Slavery was present almost everywhere in the world and our country was also a popular source. Exploiting the ignorance, lack of unity, and soft nature of the unfortunate people who lived in the third-world countries the so-called traders who visited initially for the valuable resources slowly turned into invaders mercilessly looting everything and transforming the natives into slaves. Only those communities who were fierce like the cannibals and the hunters resisted this social attack highlighting the fact that use of force is always required for survival and lack of it results in invasion and suppression. The invaders resorted to the use of force, violence, and weaponry to rule the natives silencing all sorts of resistance. The cultural peculiarities, soft-hearted nature, and lack of unity forced the real owners of the land to live in the shadows of the invaders blindly obeying them.

It is easy to miss this very important artwork by Sue Williamson which consists of some clothes hung to dry outside the Aspinwall House, the main venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018-2019. In the courtyard facing the backwaters, you can some clothes hung on a rope that is supported on bamboo poles. Getting closer you will see names of people from Cochin (Kochi, Kerala) written on it who were taken as slaves to Cape Town in the 16th century by the Dutch! This was a very shocking experience! Could not believe that our own people were also taken as slaves to other countries for hard labor! Were these their own names or been given to them by their sellers? Those people captured as slaves were forced to shed their identity and were treated like cheap commodities! They were no longer considered human beings. 

Sue Williamson has collected the details of some of those from the sale deeds archive in Cape Town who had been taken away as slaves from Cochin (Kochi) to Cape Town and printed them on linen. She deliberately put them in mud symbolically representing slavery, brought them here and washed these clothes in the laundry. Those mud like oppression and hard labour get washed away symbolically being brought back to the home country and now they are now exhibited as her artwork overlooking the backwaters.

Slavery or chattel slavery in the true literal sense might have been abolished in the world but can we deny its other forms like bonded labour, forced migrant labour, sex slavery, and human trafficking non-existent? Modern slavery is often associated with poverty. Lack of proper societal infrastructure, no law and order, economically weak status, and poor educational facilities lead to modern slavery. There are arguments in the history that slavery existed everywhere in one form or the other from time immemorial. If we remain non-vigilant it will raise its ugly head within no time. It is our duty to ask questions, find out the source of the products we purchase, and about the labour that had been used for its manufacture.

Sue Williamson's 'One hundred and nineteen deeds of sale' is a fabulous art. Please do not miss this if you happen to visit Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Check my post about her another art installation here titled 'Message from the Atlantic seas'

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Saturday, 12 January 2019

East India Street Cafe - a popular hangout in Fort Kochi

East India Street Cafe is a very popular hangout in Fort Kochi. Located at the Calvathy Bazaar Road within walking distance from the Fort Kochi boat jetty this cafe has become famous for mouth-watering delicacies and as a place where you can click beautiful pictures. The above dish is fish and potato wedges served with an awesome sauce with lemon, lettuce, and tomato slices on the side. The fish was cooked well and the potato wedges were tasty. Super-yummy😊

The interior is designed beautifully with many articles on display. The London telephone booth is a very popular space for taking pictures😊

                                                            God Ganapathy and Holy Buddha. 

                         A beautiful artwork when you enter inside the cafe at the patio.

Chicken fried waffles with potato wedges, vegetables, and a honey dip! Yummy😊

Green tea, lemon, and honey
Fort Kochi is fortunate in having such wonderful cafes and eateries. Everyone will find what they like here without much effort. Check my post about another very famous cafe where you can enjoy art while sipping cappuccino and tasting super-yummy dishes

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Friday, 11 January 2019

Ocha - a powerful artwork by Mr. V. V. Vinu: Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2019

Artist Vinu V. V, in this amazing artwork named ‘Ocha’, depicted the marginalized sections in the society in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Casteism, migrant laborers, the oppressed and the suppressed in the society, and all the people who have lost their voices to claim their rights are being represented by the different wooden sculptures exhibited here. Ocha in the Malayalam language means voice, and without a doubt, those who visit this installation will understand the message this awesome artwork is trying to convey.

Oppression and suppression still exist in the modern society in one form or the other. Modern-day slavery, casteism based practices, the creation of marginalized sections, and exploitation of poverty are some of the menaces we all are aware of. Voicing the concerns, fighting for the rights, right to being considered as a human being on par with others in the community are still not so easy in the modern world despite the scientific progress, technological advances, and democratic practices.

This art by Mr. Vinu V. V conveys a strong message which should be considered as an eye-opener of some of the serious issues the society faces about which everyone should devote some time to think of.

Hats off to this wonderful creation by this very talented artist. All the very best!


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Sunday, 6 January 2019

Unauthorized copying of our blog/website content including pictures - Copyright infringement: What to do to prevent it and the actions to be taken if it occurs

Just the other day I found some of the pictures from my blog copied without my permission on two websites. I am quite sure some of you might have had the same bitter experience. When we see our unique content posted after long hours of internet use and research used by rogues for their commercial interests on their websites, we feel bad. The images are our own intellectual property with unique links connected to our blog. These websites almost always have no contact details, even if they have one, those emails will be undeliverable, and most of these sites are non-indexed. And when we look deeper we will find content from others also depicted haphazardly with so many links and pictures. Their intention may be for making some money online in a dubious way. But when we see our content on such websites, we feel bad.

Some months ago I noticed the content of my blog copied by a site and I promptly filed a copyright notice using the Google DMCA dashboard. Prompt action was taken and all those URL's were taken down. So do not hesitate to file a notice if you happen to come across copyright infringement!

So, I researched about how to prevent content stealing, what to do if copyright infringement occurs, and thought about sharing what I have gathered by writing this post.
  • How to find our content copied on other web pages without our knowledge?                   
Do our own image search using Google - Reverse image search.                                            Type the blog name, the name of the post or the label and hit search. Use Copyscape to find the duplicate content.
  • First, let us discuss what we can do to prevent content scraping by thieves. 
  • Copyright symbol, copyright statement, and copyright attribution. Always add these on the blog. © Also put this on the pictures as a watermark with the name of the blog or website. 
Please add a copyright statement somewhere on the blog. Search google for free samples of copyright statement and policy. Add copyright to all your content including the RSS feeds and pictures.

The attribution widget will be present at the very bottom of the Home page. Open it, add the copyright symbol, year and the name. Please update it every year manually. There are some automatic ways to update the year, but I won’t recommend them. This is very important, and it is always better to update it manually every year.
  • Add a disclaimer
We can include the copyright policy in the disclaimer. There are so many free sample disclaimers available on Google search. We can customize it and add it on the blog or website.
  • What to do with the pictures?
What I have observed is that our pictures get copied when we provide RSS feed. Even if only partial feed is allowed, pictures get copied. Looks like there are malicious programs that can copy content including photos from our RSS feed. I have stopped providing RSS feed. So, if someone wants to copy pictures, they will have to open the page and spend some time to right click and copy pictures and edit it. Usually scraping is made by programs that blindly capture content according to the keywords used by the thief.

Always add a watermark with the copyright symbol and the blog name on all the pictures. Even if the picture doesn’t look very attractive it is something much better than viewing them on some unknown person’s website. If some large-scale content theft occurs, we can easily spot our pictures with our copyright symbols. It would be very evident then that they were copied from our site because people will find our blog’s URL on them. I am now putting all these things on the pictures. Also, I decided to re-upload most of my pictures from my old posts with a logo of my blogs, URL, and copyright symbol. It was a tedious task, though!

Always name the pictures with the blog post title and the URL of the blog before uploading them on to the post. So, when we search for our pictures they will easily get identified by Google.

Periodically do an image and duplicate content search.
  • Internal Linking
This means linking some words in the post internally with our previous posts. So, when the text gets copied the linked words will direct the user to our website/blog. This is a clever way to identify our unique content and a valid proof that our text has been copied without our permission.
  • DMCA badge
Digital Millennium Copyright Act website provides different types of badges we can use for free on our blogs. This will create the impression that we are monitoring our content and are vigilant about its unauthorized copying. Their paid services will provide more protection. Similarly, Copyscape is also providing badges. Use these widgets.
  • Can a Photoshop expert remove the identification we made on our pictures?
Yes and No. It is illegal to use copyrighted content without permission. No doubt about it! It is common knowledge that there are programs available to erase watermarks and texts. Unless some expert blogger/website owner had instilled the watermark into the deeper layers of the picture it is not a major task to remove it. But large-scale content theft occurs without such complicated editing works. So, we can continue doing all the precautionary measures mentioned above.

Also, do not upload very high-resolution images. First of all, it will take away our valuable free blog storage space. Even a very low-resolution image will look good on a blog, no problems at all! Moreover, editing such a low-resolution image will be of no use for somebody who is planning to use it for their own benefit. Always remember, viewers nowadays use their hand-held devices like mobiles and tablets to browse so there is no need for high-pixels!
  • Disable right-clicks
This is also suggested as a method to deter unauthorized copying. But on mobiles and tablets, this might not be of any use.
  • Be vigilant!
  • Finally, what to do when copyright infringement is detected?
Complain asap!
Write an email to the owner of the website/blog about the concern pointing out the objection from our part. If no response within a reasonable timeframe:
Sign into Gmail, search Google for the DMCA dashboard and file a copyright notice.
Also, browse the DMCA website for more details. DMCA website has a lot of information about the Takedown notice.

Note: Please read the DISCLAIMER attached to this blog.

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Tuesday, 25 December 2018


I wish all my blogger friends a Merry Christmas!

Random clicks from Fort Kochi where Kochi-Muziris Biennale is held

Rev. Dr. Hermann Gundert graffiti
Fort Kochi, a historic spot in Kerala needs no introduction. It is here this year's edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is held. This graffiti of Rev. Dr. Hermann Gundert was clicked at the Burgher Street. Hermann Gundert's dictionary in the Malayalam language, the mother tongue of Keralites is a very valuable resource in our literature.

Colorful hats for sale at the Fort Kochi beach
This picture was taken at the Fort Kochi beach!

Graffiti depicting Kerala floods 2018
This year Kerala was devastated by the merciless floods which killed hundreds of people. The above graffiti depicts this catastrophe.

Another picture clicked at the beach
Another beautiful picture that was taken at the beach.

One more image from the beautiful beach :)

Chinese fishnets are a treat to watch! I have blogged before about these nets. You will find the link below.

A beautiful graffiti
Another graffiti
Graffiti art at Fort Kochi
Graffiti, another view
Almost everywhere we can see beautiful art. Nothing is boring here. 

Burgher Street, Fort Kochi
Kashi art cafe is a famous spot in the Burgher street. Portuguese built this street during their occupation of Fort Kochi long ago. The Dutch subsequently destroyed the Fort built by the Portuguese and the nearby structures during their invasion but became disliked by the local people ultimately. Eventually, they had to leave and this region came under the Portuguese rule once again.

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Saturday, 22 December 2018

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 - Ecocide and the rise of free fall, an installation by Marzia Farhana

A symbolic representation of impermanence 
Thought-provoking art
Kerala experienced a natural calamity in the form of massive floods in August 2018 that devastated the whole State. Thousands lost their homes, valuable possessions, many people died, and the psychological trauma was severe. The recovery has only just started, and it will take a very long time to erase the trauma that has been left behind by the ugly face of Nature. Massive efforts have been undertaken by the Government, social organizations, the people and well-wishers from all over the world have come forward to extend a helping hand to the sufferers.                                 

Water is our lifeline, but it can wreak havoc as well
Marzia Farhana, a Bangladeshi artist through this installation is prompting us to think about the way we treat mother Nature who we manipulated mercilessly to our welfare compromising the delicate balance the environment has. All over the world, the story is the same, trees have been cut, greenery is thrashed, rivers were diverted, pollution is increasing, and the deadly wastes accumulating. 
A creative installation
A brilliant depiction
She has used many materials collected from the flood-affected areas for this installation. Located at the Aspinwall House, the main venue of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018, this installation is a must watch. The materials we use for our comfort and pleasure are suspended mid-air from the roof that symbolically represents the delicate way humans sustain in this world which one day is doomed to perish! A massive earthquake, a tsunami, huge floods, etc. are more than sufficient to destroy within seconds what we have built over a period of many years! Sadly, we still do not have time, resources and energy to think of the ways to prevent, foresee and deal with such natural catastrophes!

Profile of the artist and what this art means
Electronic items, household materials, vehicles, books, clothes etc. were destroyed. Many businesses became bankrupt completely and possessions of a lifetime were lost. Valuable documents, certificates, and other important records were destroyed.

A highly reflective depiction
A very powerful and thought-provoking artwork indeed!

A huge loss!
In this installation titled ‘ecocide and the rise of free fall,’ Marzia Farhana points out the dangers that lie ahead if we do not treat this planet the way it should be. On the one side we have to rebuild what we lost, but on the other hand, we have to take great care about Nature, there should be preventive steps as well. Definite plans to tackle such calamities in case they happen again are indeed very important.

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Thursday, 18 October 2018

Mahé River - the English channel of India

A serene spot
Mahé River, an important river in the northern part of Kerala originates from the Western Ghats, traverses the hilly Wayanad region, to join the Arabian Sea at Mahé. This region has historical importance being under the French administration before India's independence when the neighboring Tellicherry (Thalassery) was ruled by the British and the Mahé river separating these two territories came to be known as the 'English channel of India'!

Enjoy the cool breeze!
Mahé river occupies an important sequence in the famous novel 'Mayyazhippuzhayude Theerangalil', by Mr. M. Mukundan, the renowned writer. Mahé is known as 'Mayyazhi' in Malayalam and 'Puzha' denotes river. 

Plenty of photo opportunities!
This is a recently built walk-way strip from the Manjakkal boat jetty area. The walkway at the Tagore park section is what most people are familiar with. This side also is beautiful!

A comfortable walkway
Those who visit North Kerala particularly Thalassery, Mahe and the nearby regions have so many options like this which are all wonderful spots worth visiting. Spending an evening here enjoying the greenery, fresh air, and the cool breeze would be unforgettable!

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Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Subhash Bose Park, Kochi

Sit, watch, and relax :)
The renovated Subhash Bose park is situated at Marine drive in the heart of the city of Kochi in Kerala. A beautiful view of the backwaters, lush greenery, tall trees, flowers, lawns, good walkways, comfortable seating arrangements, play areas for kids, some outdoor exercise facilities, a small eatery, music, and beautiful lighting are some of the notable features of this park.

Lush greenery 
This is a wonderful spot where people in the city can enjoy the cool sea breeze, walk or jog, sit relaxed, watch Sunset enjoying the beautiful view of the skyline bordering the backwaters where ships, boats, and valloms (country-boats) glide. There is no entry fee; the park is very well maintained.

Enjoy art
The highlight of this park is the wonderful artworks restored when the park was renovated recently. It is a wonderful feeling looking at these beautiful pieces of art totally in sync with nature in this park. Everything in nature is an artistic creation in its own right but something created that blends seamlessly with the scenery is a rare sight. Hats off to the authorities and to the group of artists who had the determination to make such wonderful things happen! 

Art in sync with Nature
For many people enjoying art means going to a museum to view paintings, antiques or artifacts but what about getting a feel of such amazing sculptures right in the middle of nature? Art in any form is powerful, soothing, and comforting. It is a creative activity watching art, thinking, and interpreting it. Spend some time quietly with them, get the feel of your own creative thought processes which are unique to everyone. Anyone can enjoy art!

Backwaters view
Kochi is a happening place in the State of Kerala in India! The Biennale was a unique experience to our place and its next edition is almost due at Fort Kochi. Artistic installations of the previous Biennales were a treat for the eyes, can't wait for it to start!

Restored art
This is a restored work by Saurab Roy Choudhary, son of the late Sabari Roy Choudhari who first created it. With whatever that could be found he restored it. A great example of the fact that art never perish! Some way or in some form it makes its presence felt in nature; sometimes it remains forever in the minds of people even after its disappearance from the original form! Art is immortal!

There are many more here; maybe later I will post a YouTube video about this park. Make it a point to visit here, you won't be disappointed!

This is an ideal spot for those interested in cloud watching. Check my blog post

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