lördag 9 februari 2008


The period in Jaisalmer was so intense and interesting. Now I´m still there very much in my thoughts.In the dawn-hour I´m thinking of the terrass of the hotel Artist, from where you have a great view over the fort and the central part of the town. To sit there in the cool breeze and relax with a Kingsfisher beer, it´s something to long for in this rainy foggy winter on Swedish westcoast.

Monika and I will have a photoperformance together soon in February so I have reasons to go back to my photos
Also when I apply for grants to be able to return and continue the embroiderywork I am back in the desert.There are many steps to take before I can reach the REAL work in the studio. REAL work is painting, drawing, embroidering images.

How I want to be there! and find a peaceful place to sit and do this quick impressions.Last visit there was not this possibility. Next time I want to reserve time for this peaceful work.

drawing from the bazaarstreet in Jaisalmer.

In the office of the social workers SKSS Seemant Kisahn Sayhog
From the left: elsa, Monika, ND, the boss, who is boss only when he sits in the bosse´s chair, Kulwinder, her son, Abhichek, and a new guy. I had a chat on telephone yesterday, they are very busy.As their working field consists of about 300 villages around Jaisalmer,there is a lot to do, and keep in mind.In addition to all they are trying to improve their English. So this picture is from x-mas when they got an english dictionary from Monika and me.

And we were talking about the continuation of the embroidery
project. SKSS are planning to create a training center for handicraft and healthcare and many other different needs. A place where it can be possible to concentrate on training and not all the time be in the crowd of women and children as it has been in the the village Bilaon Ki Basti.But I mean we should be part of the time in the villages also.Important that the rest of the people can be involved in work and thinking and not to separate villagers from one another.
Kulvinder, my eminent companion in this work is explaining some of the guidelines for the embroideries. And women and children are contcentrated listeners.

bye til next time


söndag 3 februari 2008


Addition to the former blog
Monika Lind Melander my companion on the Indian trip is also a nurse, and she was caring for the children´s health and nutrition.
Abhishek is the correct spelling of the name of the member of the socialworker- staff

I read now in the book Dying wisdom that the estimated population of the town Jaisalmer was 30.000 in 1989-90 . The watersupply,around 0.75 milj. gallons per day, does not come from the Indira Gandhi Canal, but from ground water only. The source of water come from a village, Dabla about 12 km south of Jais. There are eight tubewells in Dabla supplying water to Jaisalmer. This water is pumped up to the top of the Fort- hill and other hills and stored in large watertanks. From there water is supplied to the whole city.
Monika and I noticed that this give a feeling to the inhabitants of the town that water is an endless gift from the gods.As people who have a house with watertaps don´t need to pay for their water they are very careless in use of water. So we could see how water was flooding and flushing from different leaking connections.

Those who have no house with watertap, have to buy their water from watersellers. So in fact it´s the poorest that suffer from this "generous" system.They must buy water liter by liter.

And the groundwater is not endless.Should be used with care. And wisdom.So for the future this is not a reliable way to solve the water challenge.

To be continued...
a rainy sunday in January in Sweden...

fredag 1 februari 2008



Hello out there!
This is a continuation of my former blog, which was written in swedish and sent from a two-month trip in India. The address is:www.elsaiindien.blogspot.com , It´s still there in the cyberspace, so it´s possible to follow our trip step by step.
My friend Monika Lind Melander and I stayed most of the time in the small town Jaisalmer far out in the Thar-desert. We were working in a project with villagewomen in Bilaon Ki Basti.

I was doing embroideries with them and Monika was caring for the children. Read about it in the former blog.
Now I´m going to write something about how the work with impressions and inspirations from the desert is developing.
Up to now my mind is still in the desert with the women and the very enthusiastic and clever socialworkers i SKSS, Seemant Kisan Sahayog Sansthan, Kulvinder, N.D and Abbicheck.
Time flies and this is the period to apply for new grants to be able to return to Jaisalmer next autumn.

This embroidery I made after my first visit to the desert.
I was overwhelmed by the ambience in Jaisalmer, which did not at all remind me about desert.Around in the area there are about 250 smaller and bigger lakes. They are dug by the people in "shramdan", which is a traditional way in India to do cooperative work which gains the common society. And there are gardens , like the water-garden of the Maharadja, which has inspired to this embroidery.
"the Maharadja´s watergarden" 17x16 cm

At that time there had been a very heavy and rich monsoonrain, so the garden was wet and greening.In the center of it there was a pavillion in which you could see a portrait of the owner, the maharadja.
In the very dry environment this garden was a refreshing and lovely place. So my experience came out as the embroidery above.

Click on the picture to get a big picture

This is the Amritsar lake, behind the wall is the watergarden.
2006 after the rich monsoon it had much water. You can see how the elephant stands with the feet in water.When the lake has this much water it will last over the dry season and give water for animals and human beeings.
In the older times it was an important source of water for the whole area around.Nowadays this is not needed as there is now water from the Indira Gandhi Canal, which brings water from a tributary to the holy Ganga river. When the town Jaisalmer got this pipelined water the old water- supply-system was conciddered not important and the old wisdom about how to harvest and store water was nearly forgotten.

2007 the monsoon was not at all so rich, so in December we found the elephant with dry feet.
The impressing walls, temples, pavillions and stepwells around the lakes tells that once upon a time the lakes had an important meaning for everyday life and survival.
This is a part of the water culture in the desert that I want to learn more about.It is called "rainwaterharvesting". This old culture and the techniques are still in peoples memories and there are now efforts to find new ways to recall the knowledge.
This is what has interested me when I started my work about water in desert.Now I will try to come closer to my impressions from the trip and see what will some out in colour, cloth and stiches.
I read the book Dying Wisdom*,which tells about all the knowledge from ancient times, which is now going to a revival. *Center of Science and Environment,New Delhi.