Life in Our Hands - Visual Art Exhibition

Life in Our Hands

Shanthamani Mudaiah 

24th September - 28th February 2020, The Joinery, Settle

Open Tue & Thu & the first Sat of every month 11am-4pm

“We are not just recording the people’s history; we take the impression and the gestures of the hands of those who have worked many years shaping the land and its history.” - Shanthamani Muddaiah

Award-winning, international artist Shanthamani Muddaiah celebrates untold stories from the rural Yorkshire Dales this Autumn. Settle Stories presents her new exhibition, Life in Our Hands, a commission that captures a moment of  time in a rural community.

Shanthamani visited Yorkshire for the first time in June 2019 as artist in residence with Settle Stories to begin her journey. She toured Settle and surrounding areas visiting farmers, mechanics, gravediggers and those whose profession and contribution has shaped the landscape. Through informal yet intimate conversation, participants shared their stories with Shanthamani as she cast their hands.  

Based in India, Shanthamani uses art to connect to the world. Shanthamani has exhibited countless group and solo pieces internationally. Her most recent solo work Neither Tree nor Ashes is displayed in Suzanne Tarasieve Gallery, Paris. Representing the forces which hold many different cultures together, her 2014 award-winning sculpture Backbone is shown in Aspinwall House, Fort Kochi, India. 

Otherwise unheard and untold, Life in Our Hands discovers the stories that share a profound understanding of a different time and culture in a world that is changing.  Global events that have caused significant change are magnified in this small rural community. Will we ever see such a dramatic change again? 

Documenting what life was like in rural communities, the exhibition records dialects that are being lost and experiences that are uncommon in today’s society. Life in Our Hands has captured the individual experiences that map the history of the Yorkshire Dales and it’s community. 

The hand casting process created an intimate space where honest conversation could flourish, whilst the casts themselves preserve the hands that have made a mark on this community. At this bold and unique exhibition sculptures are presented alongside video and text, so visitors can hear, read and see the stories that are central to the Life in Our Hands project. 

Sita Brand, Artistic Director & CEO at Settle Stories, accompanied Shantamani on all her interviews, she commented;

“It has been an extraordinary experience for me. It has allowed me to hear stories from many unrecognised people in our community. Stories we don’t often celebrate. The most moving part is how much everyone loves the area so much, and how committed everyone is to the community- that is a very beautiful, moving thing.” 

The hand casting process created an intimate space where honest conversation could flourish, whilst the casts themselves preserve the hands that have made a mark on this community. At this bold and unique exhibition the sculptures are presented alongside video and text, so visitors can hear, read and see the stories that are central to the Life in Our Hands project.