Jugaad by Sanjeev Shankar photographer Sundeep Bali
Artwork: Jugaad by Sanjeev Shankar. Photographer: Sundeep Bali

Trees often serve as communal gathering places in Rural India. The artwork Jugaad, by the artist Sanjeev Shankar, is a 750-sq foot shade canopy made of recycled oil cans covered in a locally produced pigment called gulai. It’s lit at night by suspended halogens. Sanjeev collaborated with the residents of Rajokri’, a village outside of Delhi to create the work. Shankar was trained as an architect/designer, but now works on art projects that challenge much of what he was taught in school.

Broken Atlas recently interviewed Sanjeev Shankar on the work. Excerpt:
Shankar: “Jugaad is a Hindi term that means attaining any objective with whatever resources you have at hand. There’s a guy with 10 rupees who has a dream to own a tractor or television. He will go about thinking in a radically innovative manner to get what he wants and to do it only with whatever resources he has. It results in some absolutely insane innovation and inventions. Because money is not an issue. It takes you onto a journey.

It’s a normal and accepted way to go about life, where you say, ‘Bro’, let’s do jugaad.’ A ‘let’s do it’ attitude—no matter what happens we have to get this done. And that also results in camaraderie.

But the title [for the project] came later while brainstorming with a friend. I started with my concerns: recycling; what does it mean to re-purpose; when one thing dies and it becomes something else; and how do you involve people.

The term jugaad is a lovely way to relate to everyone. In these urban villages the language is different. You’re working with people not integrated into city life. I’m an outsider. There had to be a way without language, a way they could understand and appreciate. It’s body language, the way you conduct yourself, create a deeper purpose beyond the economy of it. Once people began to appreciate it, there was a domino effect. The word spread. Suddenly there are 100 people working and brainstorming, and I become just one part of the process.”

Jugaad by Sanjeev Shankar at night photogrpher Sundeep Bali
Artwork: Jugaad by Sanjeev Shankar at night. Photographer: Sundeep Bali

For the extended article visit…
Broken Atlas article, The Everyday Artfulness of Jagaad

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