Thread Whispers is the product of a collaborative storytelling project between remote rural communities in India and two urban artists — the writer and folk musician, Corinne Elysse Adams, and the photographer and dancer Shivani Gupta. Chronicling the people of Dah and Hanu villages, small settlements high in the Himalayan Mountains of Ladakh in India, the artists persuaded the local people to share the stories of their ancient folklore — tales animated by witches, elusive love and mountains with souls. The young and old are photographed and filmed, taking on the roles of the protagonists of these mythical tales, adorned in ethnic robes. Along with fantastical creations made using found materials — anything from plastic waste to flowers — they are seen playing out the characters from their stories, using their landscape as a stage and wearing costumes styled together.
In this series, Shivani contemplates how isolated communities explore their history and translates this visually into her work, which is rooted firmly in the present. Thread Whispers investigates how communities weave together the shreds of memory, historical fact and imaginative reconstruction in pursuit of a fantastical realism amongst the ordinary.
Image: © Shivani Gupta