In the fall of 2019, Noorda was awarded a three-month residency in the Calcutta Art Research program in Kolkata, India co-organized with the Mondriaan Foundation. Her research focused on Theosophy’s dialogue with Hindu, Buddhist and indigenous religious and spiritual practice initiated by  Helena Blavatsky’s brief residency in India, and specifically, her visit to Kolkata in 1882.    

Bookcase, Bengal Theosophical Society, Kolkata, India.

In November 2019, Ruchama led a workshop in Borotalpada, a Santhal tribal village in the foothills of the Sandakfu mountains in rural West Bengal. Seven young artists from the village joined the 3-day workshop. Using only ready-to-hand materials- bamboo, rice, hay, water, clay, and cow dung- the workshop participants fashioned simple primal forms – yonic ovals, circles, nets, snakes, and wheels – whatever shapes sprang unprompted to mind.

On the last day of the three-day workshop, a rickety portal was erected on the edge of the forest surrounding the village from which the products of the workshop were hung, forming a dense mesh between the trees. That night, the festival’s store of media equipment – a video projector, and two speakers – were used to strobe white noise onto the makeshift screen accompanied by an amplified soundtrack of radio static. The entire village turned out with home-brewed beer and danced through the night.  Later, Noorda visited the Centre for Interdisciplinary Arts founded at Santiniketan in 1921 by the renowned Bengali polymath-artist-poet, Rabindranath Tagore- the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.

In 2022, a selection of sculptures and collages produced by the artist  during her residency in Kolkata were exhibited at Marres Huis voor Hedendaagse Cultuur (Marres House for Contemporary Culture) in Maastricht as part of the group exhibition Kolkata: Run in the Alley  (11 September- 13 November).



Video documentation Borotalpada:


Photography by: Trimukhiplatform & R. Noorda.