Organized by Goethe Institut in collaboration with Khoj International Artists’ Association, the Curatorial Intensive South Asia (CISA) programme aims at developing critical curatorial capacities within the South Asian region. The programme is designed to develop the next generation of promising curators in South Asia. The first part of the Curatorial Intensive brought the fellows together from Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka in July 2018 for a two week intensive workshop that looked at curatorial histories, strategies and debates pertinent to the South Asian context. The speakers included a range of curators, art historians, archivists and artists who spoke on different aspects of curatorial practice, exhibition making and art history.
For the second part of the programme, each fellow has curated an exhibition. This publication is a compilation of the curatorial projects. The projects have been sharpened under the guidance of Dr. Leonhard Emmerling and Natasha Ginwala; and executed within the premises of Khoj Studios and Studio Khirki in New Delhi. The second phase helped the participants develop crucial skills as curators and bring into practice theoretical discussions that took place over the two weeks in July. The projects cover a range of concerns addressing issues regarding communal and personal identity, memory, construction and emerging urbanism in contemporary South Asia.
Under Construction, curated by ANUJ DAGA, Mumbai, India
Artists: Avijit Mukul Kishore, Karthik Dondeti, Nisha Nair, Poonam Jain, Pratap Morey, Ritesh Uttamchandani, and Shreyank Khemlapure
Landscapes of construction have become common sites of encounter within everyday life in South Asian cities. Infrastructural expansions, large scale housing and institutional projects along with repairs and redevelopments seem to perpetually churn people within the flux of construction activity. On the one hand, the manouvering of construction sites plead for us to deal with blockages, dangers, risks, inconveniences and diversions thereby demanding in us a slowness to labour the growing city; and on the other hand, they infuse amazement and amusement in our everyday routine. Thus, contemporary urban life in South Asia inevitably gets produced within the poetics and politics of construction. In perpetual making, its cities allude to ruins, waiting to be completed, suspending us in an uneven field of promise and hope. Bodies and desires remain as incomplete as our built environment. Life and action intuitively begin to articulate form and intent in the tension of the finished and the unfinished.
How and what do people negotiate with and draw from constructions around them in their everyday? What new relationships get forged in living through the cumbersome, irritant, yet hopeful environments of sites under construction? How does construction aesthetic inform everyday life and thinking? How does growing up in a landscape of construction shape and feed into cultural production of a place and people? This project brings together seven artists / architects whose works draw from sites under construction, or who strategise its logic to open up new readings and relationships with the ever changing environment. In the process, they attempt to open up a discourse on the aesthetics and politics of construction.
Under Construction may offer an appropriate positioning for South Asian cities as a place of longing and hope but more so as one that invents new forms of life within the process of becoming. New vantages are extended to us in diversions and new places are formed in the crevices of inconvenience. In their journeys of making, objects and spaces carry a multiplicity of dispositions that may hold immense possibilities of adapting and intervening into emerging urban dynamics. Construction sites offer rich metaphors in order to understand life and work as an ongoing practice. They shift our attention from products to processes, from objects to tools and from solutions to possibilities, which may allow us insights into new geometries of speculation.
Anuj Daga graduated as an architect from Mumbai University (2008) and went on to pursue his interest in History & Theory of Architecture through the interdisciplinary Master of Environmental Design programme at Yale School of Architecture, USA (2014). His practice is informed by diverse engagements in fields of design, research and academia that have resulted into numerous roles as writer, critic, commentator, theorist or interlocutor in the cultural field. He has been the Curatorial Assistant for the visual arts project “Young Subcontinent” since first organized by the Serendipity Arts Foundation in Goa in 2016. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at the School of Environment & Architecture, Mumbai.
Making Place, curated by AZIZ SOHAIL, Karachi, Pakistan
Artists: Fazal Rizvi and Sandip Kuriakose
Making Place explores the contours of queer desire and its complex manifestations in the digital age through the work of Karachi-based artist Fazal Rizvi and Delhi-based artist Sandip Kuriakose.
Apps such as Grindr and Tindr have become new modes of connecting for gay men, transforming cruising which has historically occurred in the underground nightlife of the city. These new digital spaces offer a possibility of anonymity and cut across class, allowing for their protagonists to perform alternate identities. Works by these artists bring together text, video and prints to explore broader questions about economy, desire, class and formations of identity that occur through these digital sites. Navigation of this liminal space of identity is a way to form new alliances and possibilities of existence. This can also be translated to the space of urban itself, where public spaces of sexual/social encounters such as parks, public urinals, clubs and Sufi shrines have been a part of the gay male experience and has historically informed a corpus of art and literary writing by artists such as Prem Sahib and Sunil Gupta. How do these experiences evolve in the digital age and what are the interactions between these two?
Both Rizvi and Kuriakose, whose work is in rooted in their local urban geography are divided by national borders. This does not preclude the cultural similarities and references of both India and Pakistan that emerge in their work, allowing for a potent dialogue. Underlying in the work is the possibility of these liminal spaces as imagined utopias dissipating the hard border and envisioning a possibility of connections that resist narrow nationalisms. In doing so, the work also becomes a way to imagine a queer future of liberation and possibility of a broader united South Asia.
Aziz Sohail is an art curator, writer and researcher. He has curated numerous exhibitions in the USA, UK, UAE and South Asia and was a curator-in-residence at The New Art Gallery Walsall, England, in 2015. He has worked with organizations such as the British Council and the Lahore Biennale Foundation to build new cultural initiatives and spaces. His current research examines the possibility of queer futures through a reading of history and exploring the intersection of sexuality with migration, law and identity - a practice collaboratively intersecting with other practitioners from Pakistan. Sohail has a degree in Art History from Brandeis University and is currently an MFA Candidate in Art (Critical and Curatorial Studies) at University of California, Irvine
Body as Archive, curated by HEDYEH AZMA, Tehran, Iran; and SUMEDHA BHATTACHARYYA, Delhi, India
Living in the world of ‘forced’ amnesia, we are constantly told what to remember, what to forget, what story to tell and re-tell. The idea of memory, history and its subsequent re-enactment becomes problematic.
This memory when accumulated, preserved and retrieved over a body, creates a bodily archive. Through parallel explorations of Indian classical and Iranian national dance, we explore the primary source: body as archive.
It is the classical/national dance which has witnessed an oral transmission of a fixed pedagogical knowledge. It is the classical/national dance where there is a constant strife between what the body is told to remember and what the body actually remembers.
Body as Archive attempts to know this particular classical body at a particular time with particular motivations through unique enactment in the curatorial space. This project re-defines what is understood as archive and what is understood as re-enactment and also discover whether the curatorial space could be the point of intersection of the tangible and the intangible, the frozen and the ephemeral, the remembered and the forgotten.
The key question still remains: Can memory be frozen or imposed?
Co-curators Sumedha Bhattacharyya and Hediyeh Azma together and parallely attempt to explore and provoke the politics of their own body as dance practitioners and curators with an archival lens of Indian ‘Classical’ dance Kathak and Iranian ‘National’ dance. Through a time-distorting, multi-media performance installation, the dancer’s body accesses and adds to archive of collective memories of Kathak and Iranian dance artists. Broader notions of history, truth and memory are evoked by the curators as dance practitioners, through an artistic identity that is traditional, but an embodied existence that is contemporary.
Hediyeh Azma, with Artists: Mehran Gulmohammadi, Aida Mirza Khani, and Marzieh Jafarpour
In Iran, constructing Iranian National Dance in the 60s was part of the state’s policy to create a collective memory and national identity. The Islamic revolution went a step further in eradicating dance from the socio-political sphere as neglected ‘former’ dancers became hidden figures of the Iranian art scene.
In the post-revolution era, however, when dancers are constantly trying to find new modes of breaking out, the enactment of dance has become a form of resistance. Body as Archive in its Iranian part tries to provoke and excavate the question: How does looking at the body as an archive reveal the erased memory of a rich tradition? How does listening to the bodies and their stories lead us to see the its potential and its limitations? And how is the transformation from classical to contemporary shaped in the malleable form that is the body of the Iranian dancer.
Sumedha Bhattacharyya, with Artists: Anurag Dasgupta, Jainish Vg, Nooreen Fatima, Shuoummo Saha, and Vishnupriya Rajgaria
In the Indian classical dance tradition, Kathak, the reclamation of Indian culture and national pride began over one hundred years ago and the revivalist vision of the dance tradition was embraced during Independence over sixty years ago. Kathak came to be reduced to seduction by the female body, and everything in Kathak was related to just that. Moreover, this revivalist vision led to a dominant monolithic narrative of Kathak as a North Indian dance, one that privileged the Hindu, male and religious tradition, while it largely succeeded in masking the dance’s long tradition of syncretism.
What is Kathak though at its root? “Katha Kahe so Kathak", they say. The storyteller is the Kathak.
Like storytelling, Kathak has travelled and evolved through multiple influences on its form, execution and history. Yet, in its revivalist classical paradigm, Kathak still emphasizes a ‘fixed’ pedagogical knowledge. This continues to forge a constant battle between what the body is told to remember and what the body actually remembers. Considered the most traditional form , Kathak went through shifts in patronage, location, venue, and context which fused to make it the dance that it has become now. We must therefore realize that there is not just one story of Kathak, but many. Limiting our understanding of a tradition that has travelled, and continues to do so amidst a global cultural continuity as fixed is, thus, undermining the richness Kathak has to offer in its vibrant diversity.
Hediyeh Azma is an award-winning choreographer and member of the International Dance Council (CID) of Paris. She has had 21 years of experience in the field of Iranian national dance. She is also trained in modern, contemporary and classical ballet. Choreographing numerous pieces, she has received prizes as the ‘best performer’ and ‘best director’ in the reputed movement festival called ‘Point’, based in Iran. Parallel to her artistic career, she runs the first dance school in Iran, called ‘Deir’, founded in 2009. A fellowship on entrepreneurship in Sweden honed her career as the founder of her school.
Academically, Hediyeh terminated her Masters in Dancer Knowledge Practice and Heritage (Choreomundus) in 2018.
Sumedha Bhattacharyya completed her B-Tech in Electronics Engineering, a BA in Sociology, and a PGDM in Liberal Arts as a Young India Ashoka Fellow. She is an ICCR Kathak Performing Artist trained under Jaipur and Lucknow Gharana(styles) under Guru Shashi Sankhla, Saswati Sen and Paramita Maitra. She is a member of the International Dance Council (UNESCO). She pursued her Masters in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage under Erasmus Mundus European Union scholarship in Norway, France, Hungary and London. She is curious about depicting multiple perspectives in a single concept. Her Kathak-informed body and a photographer-informed mind led her interest towards creative expressions which involve the performing and the visual. She finds herself in the role of a dance scholar and a researcher.
Could-be Urbanism | शायद शहरी है|; curated by NAVEEN MAHANTESH, Bangalore, India
Artists: Rashmi Sawhney; Kaushik Bhowmik; Juneza Niyazi; Akshaya Narsimhan; WALA; Niroj Satpathy
Urbanism’ is man made. Its evolution is organic. It produces its own culture. It inhabits its own precedent. The greatest achievement of urbanism is its ability to solve problems of human inhabitation /settlement. Its greatest aspiration is to inhabit an environment totally man-made.
Urbanism is a constant process of making, inhabiting and archiving built environments or urban forms, with each archive setting a precedent for future iterations.
An urban form, in this context, is defined as a moment within the social fabric that
- encourages human settlement
- develops its own local economy (of various currencies)
- incubates actors and agencies that produce new cultural experiences
‘People of...’ and ‘places of...’ are subsets of urban forms. They co-author a unique culture that represent a particular period of time. The cultural capital of a moment in time, does not follow the linearity of function but an extrapolation of human imagination, as imagined by the artists, writers or poets of the time. ‘Could be Urbanism’ is a project that forecasts the potential of five urban moments to become urban forms, while grounding their realities in the present.
You are here
you are in the city
you are of the city
city is smart
city knows where you are even when you don’t
city is smart
city locates your place
even when you are trying to find yourself
city has a city of its own that is an excess of itself
you are a part of both footprints
city was made today in an instant
what are you in this instance
there is a village within a city
the city was drawn around the village you are in an urban village
you inhabit a conundrum
practices are traditional tradition has a lineage
what are the urban practices?
where lies its lineage?
Naveen Mahantesh’s practice lies at the intersection of art, architecture and the city. He is involved in creative research with a love for urban life. His past projects include working with teams of artists and curators and engaging with ideas of placing art in the public realm while considering the city as a studio. His projects provide alternate perspectives for the banal routines, take inspiration from urban myths, and engage within the ecologies that the city thrives upon. He is the principal architect of CRESARC STUDIO LLP, Bangalore.
The Public Life of Women: A Feminist Memory Project, curated by NAYANTARA GURUNG KAKSHAPATI, Kathmandu, Nepal
Co-curated by Diwas Raja Kc
Research Fellows: Agastaya Thapa, Nisha Rai, Nikita Tripathi
To become public is to be seen and accounted for in history. The journey of Nepali women from within the boundaries of domesticity to the openness of public life is a move from obscurity to memory. This exhibition showcases materials gathered by Nepal Picture Library in its effort to create a dedicated women’s archive. It rides on the feminist impulse to memorialize women’s pasts in the belief that their historical visibility will advance the case for liberation.
This multi-part exhibition is an act of willing Nepali women en masse into public memory. It flashes instances from the past when women have taken on political struggle, addressed assemblies, paved new paths through education, published and shaped opinion, travelled and described the world, become figures of authority, and broken social norms. What we see is a view of how publicness itself has emerged as a key feminist strategy in Nepal.
The Feminist Memory Project: The Feminist Memory Project is a project by Nepal Picture Library that seeks to create a visual archive of women’s movements in Nepal. Through gathered archival photographs, other documents and oral histories from around Nepal that capture women in pivotal moments of Nepali history, it consolidates contributions made by pioneering figures who remain marginalized in our male dominated historiographies.
NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati is a photographer and curator based in Kathmandu. She enjoys working across platforms to connect visual storytelling, research, pedagogy, and activism. In 2007, she co-founded photo.circle, a photography platform that has facilitated learning, publishing, and audience engagement opportunities for Nepali photographers. In 2010, she co-founded the Nepal Picture Library; a digital photo archive that strives to document a public history of the Nepali people. NayanTara is the Co-Founder and Festival Director of Photo Kathmandu, an international photography festival that takes place every two years.
Diwas Raja Kc is a researcher, writer, and curator based in Kathmandu. He pursued graduate studies in visual culture and history in Sarah Lawrence College, New York, and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. At Nepal Picture Library, he works on building visual archives and presenting documentary images of historically obscured subjects. His curatorial show Dalit: A Quest for Dignity (2016) explored ways of witnessing assertions and obfuscations about Dalit past in Nepal. He also works as a documentary film editor and has worked with several renowned artists and visual anthropologists.
Loafing Art, curated by NAYOMI APSARA, Colombo, Srilanka
Artists: Nadini Thakshila, Nadil Theekshana, Oshadi Withana, Shiran Mohommed, Pasindu Sankalpa, Hiruni Sepalika, Tharushi Imasha, Nataliya Perera, and Prakash Sathasivam
Instructors: Aruna Vidanaarachchi, Bandu Manamperi, Chamara Guruge, and Pradeep Chandrasiri
“The artist is not a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist.” Ananda Coomaraswamy
Within the field of contemporary art, there seems to be an increased widening of social inequality. In recent years, fine art is somewhat limited to large scale exhibitions, museums and galleries that are accessible to a certain social strata. My attempt is to involve various communities and make a space for them to exhibit their work. I argue that the perspective provided by this framework enables meaningful knowledge that can cross disciplines and reveal insights about the complexities in the ways of seeing art and art education in the global system. This highlights the roles that art and cultural practices can play in shaping our understanding of complex societal assemblages.
The exhibition process included a day-long workshop, where we invited artists and participants to create work in response to their curiosity and the given space.
For the workshop, I chose Wanathamulla, which is located in the prison border and marginalized for many years for its violence, drugs and failures in state disciplinary mechanisms. The first generation of Wanathamulla included labourers from the Port and other leading constructions of the capital city of Colombo. However in the recent years, the current generation has emerged into a culture where people share resources, space and live amidst diverse races peacefully. The project is quite timely for such a generation.
I plan to continue a series of workshops of a similar nature along with Theertha in specific areas and communities.
Loafing of Art is an exhibition designed to further explore:
- Discourse on space: Introspect and focus on how space is consumed.
- Connect: Give an opportunity to connect between different communities, cultures and ages
- Art making and creativity: Explore artmaking through creative, novel and unconventional ways.
- Thinking and skills for everyday life: Provide a set of experience and skills, which would be beneficial in future life engagements or professions; Creative thinking, art/craft practices.
Nayomi Apsara is a media marketing professional, and an aspiring curator who coordinates the annual ‘Theertha Performance Platform’ of Theertha International Artists Collective. Further, she is assisting in an ongoing research on ‘Ananda Coomaraswamy’ conducted by Dr. Janice Leoshko. She is also the local artists’ liaison for Colomboscope 2019. Loafing Art is her first curatorial project, where she worked with young children through community workshops, towards bridging the gap within people, art and everyday life.
The Unspoken Word, curated by RAHUL GUDIPUDI, Bangalore, India
Artists: Abdullah Al Othman, Diya Naidu, Léuli Eshraghi, and Manu Ananth
If we were to analyze dialogue as a human phenomenon, we discover something that is at the essence of dialogue itself : the word. This word is itself made up of two gestures - reflection and action. Both these constituents are in close relation with one another where if one fails the other suffers. A word in its best and most desirable state is a study of such reflection and action, and to speak such a word has the power to transform the world.1 The Unspoken Word seeks to reflect upon this ‘word’ that Paolo Freire refers to and in that process invites artists and practitioners to reinterpret it and reconstruct a vocabulary that represents their truths and “naming” of the worlds.
“Dialogue cannot occur between those who want to name the world and those who do not wish this naming - between those who deny others the right to speak their word and those whose right to speak has been denied to them. Those who have been denied their primordial right to speak their word must first reclaim this right and prevent the continuation of this dehumanizing aggression.”2 The Unspoken Word is thus a haunting ghastly silence of erasure and invites us to reflect on three silent agent-citizens : First, one who is able and yet speaks no word, second, one who is unable (denied agency or silenced forever) and therefore utters no word, and finally third, one who speaks often and yet is effectively silent or unheard. In addition to these agents and their silences is also the desired silence and unspokenness of contemplation and preparation. The pregnant deliberate silence of profound meditation as Freire continues being only “authentic if the mediator is ‘bathed’ in reality; (and) not when the retreat signifies contempt for the world and flight from it.” At the end of the silence however is a continued act of speaking and utterance. Such a ‘word’ is a practice and a study.
To speak an effective word requests a silent ‘present’ mind, in a certain state of meditative, empathetic and silent listening, an essential corporeal, visceral sensation that transcends the aural-cognitive relationship of intellectual comprehension.
The Unspoken Word is a potent stimulus but however requires to cross the qualitative threshold of the metaphorical “half-second”,3 in Massumi’s words “the present is lost, with the missing half-second, passing too quickly to be perceived, too quickly, actually to have happened.” The exhibition a mere ‘word made up of words’ and a drop in an ocean of affect and super-articulation4 hoping at best at reflecting on Dialogue and through that on Praxis.
The Unspoken Word, the first edition in a series of curatorial forms is a call to collectively listen.
Rahul Gudipudi is a mixed-media artist and curator based in Bangalore, with a history of practice in robotics and image making; presently co-director and co-curator at The Story Of Foundation and upcoming Story of Mind festival, exploring experiential pedagogical journeys. He is a founder director at Kena Artists Initiative and upcoming Xeno-Anek publication. He is also a participating member at the (Un)Learning Place as part of Das Neu Alphabet, Haus Der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 2019.
Somewhere In Between curated by SANIA GALUNDIA, Jaipur, India
Artists: Aysuhman Mitra, Desmond Lazaro, and Trisha Bose
The urge to belong is primordial and universal. Belonging with an individual, a group, a nation, is integral to our self-concept. According to the American psychologist Abraham Maslow, a Hierarchy of Needs operates for each individual. The ideal motivation, self-actualization, is at the top and belongingness needs to be fulfilled before evolving towards the ultimate potential. Although, the theory has been criticized for its simplistic categorization, the need to belong has been acknowledged as crucial for one’s mental and emotional well-being.
Citizenship, language, gender, education, sexual orientation, religion, and socio-economic background are some important markers one uses to locate her/his belonging. Each individual is defined by multiple markers. These may conflict with one another or with prevalent societal norms. As potential threats to belonging it pushes the individual in ambivalent and transient states of belonging and non-belonging. Furthermore, they can co-exist, collide, and merge on this continuum. The threats leave the individual’s self concept fragmented, pushing her/him on a new quest to belong.
The exhibition comprises of works by Desmond Lazaro, Trisha Bose and Ayushman Mitra. The artists deal with belonging on different levels. Lazaro grew up with stories of the homeland that his family had to abandon in order to relocate to a new homeland. Personal memories and Polaroid pictures of the family in their new surroundings inspired the series Cini Films. Based on observation and first hand interaction with refugees residing in the National Capital Region, Bose takes us through their nuanced physical and psychological journey in Limbo, Gravity, Heal. In Shelter, Mitra acknowledges his personal struggle for acceptance of his queer identity in society by creating a warm embracing space, which is marked with motifs of rage on the outside. All works take off from a sense of non-belonging but strive for belonging, connecting them in a dialogue, which makes one reflect on the various levels of belonging
Sania Galundia is currently engaged in curatorial practice at Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, The City Palace, Jaipur. She is also an independent consultant and curatorial supervisor to an upcoming museum on hand block printing in Bagru. Prior to this, she was the Assistant Curator at National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. She was part of an international curatorial residency “Curator’s Agenda” in Vienna which culminated in a group exhibtion at Krinzinger Projekte in October 2018. She completed an M.A. in History of Art from National Museum Institute, New Delhi with a dissertation titled “The Art of Subodh Gupta: Special Reference to Food as Theme and Metaphor”. Her research and curatorial interests include food history and questions of identity.
Sediments: Resisting Anonymity, curated by SHARAREH BAJRACHARYA, Kathmandu, Nepal
Artists: Lavkant Chaudhary, Mekh Limbu, Sanjeev Maharjan, Sheelasha Rajbhandari, Subas Tamang, and Sunita Maharjan
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is a centrifuge that spins and separates people into sediments of varying density. The fundamental nature of Kathmandu as a contemporary urban city is its claims of reinvention and prosperity. People’s imaginations of themselves are flattened into hopes of owning a motorbike or car, buying a plot of land, building a well-lit aired home, or schooling one’s children in a boarding school. Amidst a search for a better life and upward mobility, we find ourselves in parallel, segregated communities that rarely intersect. There exists an erasure of stories that connect us to our past. We are too busy to question how this segregation happens or look at how the ‘Us’/‘Them’ binaries that define our communities were created.
In this whirl of urban growth, an act of listening to a story plays out as an act of resistance. Questioning the phenomenon of anonymity and amnesia around us reduces the centrifugal force long enough to get a glimpse of how the sediments settle.
In this exhibition, six artists based in Kathmandu, Sunita Maharjan, Lavkant Chaudhary, Mekh Limbu, Subas Tamang, Sanjeev Maharjan, and Sheelasha Rajbhandari place at the centre their own histories and reveal layers of sedimentation. In the current multiplication of goods, amenities, and a growing vertical sprawl, how are we being arranged and rearranged according to our social and economic status? How do different communities remember their own histories? How do we see the enactment of resistance in these memories?
Photographs and artefacts play a central role in each of the artists’ process. The stories, however, unravel in different mediums. Suni collages, layers prints on textile, and sews to depict an urban landscape of terraces where people’s access to the skies are defined by their socio-economic status. In contrast, Sanjeev draws, paints, and photographs his ancestral seeds as he uncovers his Maharjan family’s vast knowledge and memories of a once fertile Kathmandu. Sheelasha creates miniature sculptures that recreate her grandmother’s memories of living in the heart of the city, at the crossroads of Kathmandu’s trade route between India and Tibet. Subas engraves and prints a well-known image of laborers carrying a car into Kathmandu in the 1930s. He questions the recounting of this history by approaching it from the eyes of Tamang laborers, enslaved by the state. Mekh erases and layers text to show the resistance of the Limbu language against repression by the state. Lavkant draws and carves the words that were used to enslave the Tharu community.
Each artist resists the grand narrative about national development promoted by those in power. The artists express a need to understand how history has affected their families and their surroundings. They invite the viewer to reflect on themselves and to question history always from the margins.
In order to further engage in a dialogue with the works, I am working with the artists and the online publication The Record (www.therecordnepal.com) to create a podcast series entitled Encounters. They will be released over the next six months.
Sharareh Bajracharya is part of a community of artists and educators who create learning spaces through the arts. Her curatorial endavour is to open up questions that have been silenced and to unlearn different forms of indoctrination. She completed her BFA in Painting and Art Education from the Kathmandu University Centre for Art and Design, her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Development from Tufts University and her Master’s in Education, Culture, and Society from the University of Pennsylvania. Bajracharya is one of the founders and the current Chairperson of Srijanalaya, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing the arts to education in Nepal.
Past Doesn’t Have Any Vanishing Point, by SHIMUL SAHA, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Exhibition patterns we see today date back only a couple of hundred years. However the concept has existed for over a thousand years. In general, exhibitions initiate a dialogue and disseminate knowledge. The scale may vary. Exhibitions are an important source of knowledge where various aspects of a nation’s culture are brought under the same roof, facilitating multicultural exchange.
The Triennale India in Delhi was one such show that was ingaugurated in 1968, however, it suddenly stopped in 2005. Within this timeline Lalit Kala Akademi was able to organize eleven of its editions successfully.
Several memories regarding this Triennale revolve amongst the people involved in this project. While the older generation speak about this event like a fairy tale, the new generation is quite oblivious about it. While we no longer have the opportunity to experience the grandeur of its physical display, some of its tangible remains are still available.
There is a proverb, “nobody forgets anything, just in terms of necessity communication decreases and distance increases.” But it doesn’t mean that the necessity of Triennale India has ceased. It has been a guiding star for us, showing us new windows to take our art practice ahead. Although not directly, it has certainly been a propeller from behind. Therefore due to the distance we can’t say Triennale India has completely vanished. The Past never vanishes anywhere; somehow it stays and sustains us throughout our existence.
Shimul Saha is a contemporary visual artist, who lives and works in Dhaka. Saha’s art practice is based on experiments that develop through research. Sometimes he produces bodies of work where experimenting and variation in materials are visible in terms of research quality. As an art practitioner his creation is related to natural, social, biological, psychological and political issues of his surroundings, what works as a source of data to execute his thoughts. He has worked as an Assistant Curator at Chobimela and Dhaka Art Summit. He is one of the trustees of the Britto Arts Trust. Saha also teaches at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute.
So You Think You Know the Closet? curated by SUMITRA, Bangalore, India
Archives: QAMRA, ORINAM, and Varta
6/9/18 is Independence Day. The highest legal institution in the country ruled in favour of the LGBTQ+ community, beginning the process of decriminalising queer people. I say beginning because this is just the first step, and there is so much more to do. From accepting, and being accepted, to actually affecting a shift in the moral fabric, the life of a queer person as an independent and valued citizen has only just begun. This installation is meant to show a slice of what being in the closet, facing State supported censorship and violence—as an individual as well as part of a community—was (and continues to be) like.
The closet and censorship are closely tied in the experience of the queer person. Section 377 implied that sexual encounters, where procreation was not the end goal, were immoral and unnatural. The State has played a major role in denying rights to queer identified people in multiple ways, as has social morality. Section 377 was a direct violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, therefore, ensuring that the community remains in the closet, invisible.
Gender and sexuality minorities have had a hard journey both in colonial and post-independence times. Specifically in India, in 2013, when the Supreme Court overturned the Naz Foundation Judgement (Delhi High Court, 2009) that decriminalised homosexuality, one of the main arguments was that there was not enough documentation of discrimination and alleged rights violations. Added to this, the court did not recognise that there was an LGBTQ+ community, but just a ‘miniscule minority’. This invisibility is the key reason to use archival materials in this installation. Sorting through over three decades of documentation, this piece showcases a glimpse of the large hand the State and society has had in dehumanising queer people. It is a site of discomfort, but also accomplishment that today a larger number of queer identified individuals can march at the Queer Pride.
The closet has become a necessary means of survival. The microaggressions and violence faced by anyone who defies the norm are extremely damaging. Those who do not conform to hetero-patriarchal roles and stereotypes, are subjected to systematic tools of oppression—through corrective rape, lack of access to healthcare or a supportive environment, losing livelihoods, becoming subjects of sensationalisation and demonisation in the media.
These are the stories from a community that has been invisiblised. The purpose of this installation is to start telling these stories…
Sumitra is a curator and researcher based out of Bangalore. She is currently finishing a PhD in art history and curatorial practice in India. Her research interests include Queer Theory and Queering art practice. She has co-curated a few shows so far, including the Students’ Beinnale of 2016. The installation on view at CISA 2018 is a projection of what it means to be in the closet and invisiblised by heteronormativity. It features material from 3 archives, two of them virtual spaces for the LGBTQ+ Community.
ilâj, curated by YASAMAN TAMIZKAR, Tehran, Iran
Artists: Hamed Jaberha, Sadra Wejdani, and Sara Ghods
ILÂJILAJ is an Arabic, Farsi and Urdu word meaning ‘cure’, ‘treatment’.; A Re-evaluation of Values. The Enigma of life and universe persuaded our ancestors to regard the hidden meaning in everything around them and a passion to experience the unknown.
Experiencing what was then a question mark to them and revelation of that mysteriousness put us on a totally different place. Social determinism and our conception of life and universe led us to a dysphoria and Nihilism. This ended in a deep pain we are feeling within, personally and socially.
The loss of an absolute basis for morality leads to a dysphoria and nihilism. Re-evaluating the Values, is an approach that man has been talking about for years and believes that Art can appear as a form of cure to this Nihilism which brings us despair. Art invites us to relive our perceptions through revealing the unrecognized chapters of our emotions. It is through Art that one can fill the void between the meaninglessness of their very being and their universe.
An artist’s creation reconsiders a different perception of what seemed unbearable once, and surpasses the other side of this meaningless phase through Art. It is as if the interpretation heals the artist as well as the audience.
What “ILÂJ” project claims is that Artist, whether as a mystic or as the person in pain, is capable of starting such journey through well-being and a meaningful state of being, both for themselves and their audience.
ILÂJ project shows how four different approaches of Awareness, Observation, design and astonishment will play the role of a healing process through a society’s well-being and tranquility.
Yasaman Tamizkar studied Visual Communication at Art University of Tehran, Iran and is currently the program coordinator at Kooshk Residency, a nonprofit space for arts and culture in Tehran. As a curator, she is currently focusing on Middle Eastern and Asian Art and Culture by conducting art shows and doing research on this matter. She has worked at the Rybon Art Center, an international, independent and artist-led institute based in Tehran and at the Hepta Gallery. She also has participated in group exhibitions as an artist and has worked in different fields of art e.g. animation, VFX, photography and illustration.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION Anuj Daga
- Avijit Mukul Kishore is a film-maker and cinematographer. He studied cinematography at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune and has a bachelors degree in history from Hindu College, Delhi. His practice overlaps the disciplines of documentary, moving-image art practice and cinema pedagogy. His films as director include Squeeze Lime in Your Eye, The Garden of Forgotten Snow, Nostalgia for the Future, Electric Shadows, Vertical City, Certified Universal and Snapshots from a Family Album.
- Karthik Dondeti is a practicing architect and founder of Voxelscapes - an Architecture and Computational Design studio, and Pixel Tectonics - a code art studio based in Bangalore. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Architecture from the SPA, New Delhi and a Masters Degree focusing on Design and Technology from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Karthik is passionate about operating at the intersection of the Digital and the Analogue and is currently working towards incorporating algorithmic design processes in the domains of Art and Architecture.
- Nisha Nair-Gupta is an architect with a Master’s degree in Humanities and Art Journalism from CEPT, Ahmedabad. She currently spearheads the design studio Design [Variable] and a research initiative, The People Place Project. Nisha uses writing as a tool for documentation and mapping along with other media like photography, sketching, oral narrations, etc. A cultural practitioner, her work involves curation and publishing, and she also conducts writing courses at various architecture colleges.
- Pratap Morey is a Mumbai-based artist with a post-graduate diploma in Indian Aesthetics from Mumbai University and a graduate degree in Fine Art from Vasai Vikasini College of Visual Arts. Pratap has lived and worked in Mumbai for the most part of his life, and has been constantly displaced by the city’s shifting façades. He seeks inspiration from his immediate surroundings, exploring the spatial existence of its residents and the dualism of a colossal urban sprawl where vacant spaces are rapidly transformed into formidable structures.
- Poonam Jain (1989) is a Bangalore-born Mumbai-based artist who joined art school almost by chance – a space that comes to shape her worldview. The process of questioning and un/re learning drives her drawings, installations, sculptures and gestural works. By employing methods of repetition, counting and measuring, her visual works acquire a distinct vocabulary that bridge several domains of art, architecture and theosophy. She has been an resident at Art Dubai 2018. She was a member of Clark house Initiative, Bombay from 2011 to 2016. Some of her group exhibitions were in Sapar contemporary, NY; New Gallery, Paris; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; INSERT 2014, New Delhi; GdanskaGaleria Miejska 2, Poland; MKG127, Canada. She has had solo exhibitions in Clark House Initiative, Bombay, 1X1 Art Gallery, Dubai.
- Ritesh Uttamchandani began his journey as a photographer watching his elder sister take photos of his family. However, he didn’t register it back then and began his journey as a professional only in 2004 as an intern at the Indian Express. In his decade-long experience as a photojournalist, he has reported and documented some of the major events of national and international importance in the Indian subcontinent and has recently self-published his first photo book, The Red Cat and Other Stories, which looks at the city of Bombay through the lens of a fable his mother used to narrate to him when he was a child. The book, equal parts travelogue and journalism, is a tribute to the beauty in the mundane.
- Shreyank Khemalapure has completed his post-graduation from The Berlage, Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design, Netherlands in 2014. He completed his undergraduate studies from G.I.T, Belgaum in 2009. He works on projects ranging from architectural competitions to architectural films under the umbrella of Room for Architecture. He is also a research director at ‘SPARE’ a research wing initiated by sP+a. Currently he is teaching at School of Environment and Architecture, Mumbai.
Acknowledgements. Prasad Shetty, Riyas Komu, Rohan Shivkumar, Rupali Gupte
MAKING PLACE Aziz Sohail
- Sandip Kuriakose graduated with an MVA (Painting) from MS University, Baroda (2014) and a BFA (Painting) from the College of Art, New Delhi. Shows include FotoFest International 2018 Biennial Central Exhibition INDIA - Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art, Houston; Regimes of Truth, Gati Dance Forum, New Delhi; Against the Order Of, Clark House Initiative, Mumbai; The 6th European Month of Photography, Das Foto Image Factory, Berlin; Art For Young Collectors, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai; and United Art Fair, New Delhi among others. Residencies include Clark House Initiative (2018), CONA Foundation (2018), TIFA Working Studios (2018) and the Summer Residency Program, School of Visual Arts (2013). He lives and works in New Delhi.
- Fazal Rizvi graduated from NCA Lahore with a BFA, and is an interdisciplinary artist exploring notions of memory, loss, erasures, migration etc within his practice. He was selected for the Arcus Project Residency, Japan 2011 and was the recipient of the Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust and British Council Residency at Gasworks, London 2014, and Vasl International Artist Residency 2015. Karachi. Rizvi also recently showed at the Karachi and Lahore Biennales and teaches at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi.
BODY AS ARCHIVE Hediyeh Azma + Sumedha Bhattacharya
- Mehran Golmohamadi is an independent filmmaker and photographer. He holds a B.A in Theater and Performance Art from Sooreh University of Tehran and is certified as a member of the Young Community of Cinema in Tehran. He was a jury board member for Kharazmi Festival, Film and Photography Section from 2012 to 2014. Some of his recent national and international productions within the area of theatre and animation include Parrot and the Merchant at Spielart art festival in Munchen 2015 and Some Capris for Violin for the 23rd International Fajr Theater Festival in Iran 2013. He worked as the filmmaker for the current project of Body as Archive.
- Aida Mirzakhani & Marzieh Jafarpour completed their B.A. in Stage and Dress Design at Tehran Art University. As members of NIB Design Group, they continued their collaboration on different projects within the areas of dress design, installation art and scenic design. Their first installation production was at Fadjr Visual Art Festival 2017, which gained attention and resulted in a group exhibition at the Artists' House in Tehran on 2017. Aida was nominated as the best dress designer at the Monologue Theatre festival 2017 and Marzieh won the best Stage and Dress designer’s prize at the Nahal International Film Festival 2017. Their recent works focus mostly on Installation art. Their last collaboration resulted in the Body as Archive’s installation. The dress design of the project was also done by Aida.
Acknowledgments. Sepideh Nicknafs, Professor Emeritus Egil Bakka and Gediminas Karoblis, Naveen Mahantesh, Asqar Faridi Masouleh, Alieh Foroughi and Mohsen Goudarzi, Yeganeh Kamar Khani, Rojin Mansouri, Yasmin Vafaei, Shabnam Kermani and Dr. Aria Rahmati.
- Anurag Dasgupta, based in India, is a graduate of Srishti school of art, design and technology with specialisation in digital filmmaking where he delved into documentary, experimental and fiction filmmaking. Taking advantage of the digital revolution he created an independent filmmaking setup in Delhi called Growling Pixels out of which he created music videos, activist documentaries and fiction films.His main interest lies in mysticism, bridging the gap between sensory perception of art and cinema and our instincts, animal and ecological welfare.
His work can be found at https://www.anuragdasgupta.com/
- Nooreen Riaz Ahmed, is an architect and an urban designer based out of Delhi. She uses illustration and free hand sketching as a medium of expression in her work. She works as a freelance visualizer consultant for multiple think tanks. Her main body of work lies in capturing urbanscapes and dynamic forms of street interactions in Indian cities. She likes to bring a piece of every place she visits in her travel journals through a combination of tangible and intangible forms of memory. She likes to combine different materiality and mediums in her work. She currently works as a project associate at the Department of Urban Design in School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.
- Shoummo Saha is part of the Under the Border Movement platform that aims to encourage interaction between the electronic music scenes of South Asia and German. Shoummo started his journey as a sound designer. Currently he is working with generative music which is a genre that works with real time music generation.
- Vishnupriya Rajgarhia is the recipient of the Levett Scholarship and an MFA Candidate at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. Her practice can be viewed as a continuous engagement with questions regarding identity, the human condition and its intersectionalities with society. Her research is intertwined with her practice and probes into institutions in the world of art, their connections and their implication in art and the world at large. She hopes to start a dialogue with the viewer, treating her work as an experiential catalyst. Her choice of mediums include, installations, text, photography, zines videos and performance art.
Acknowledgments. My gurus, Aditi Mangaldas and Paramita Maitra, Shashi Sankhla, Vikram Iyengar, Naveen Mahantesh, Anurag, Nooreen and Shoummo, Dr. Margaret Walker, Lubna Marium, Urmimala Sarkar, Sanjeev Chatterjee, Anushesh Anedil, and Khan Chacha (costume designer).
COULD-BE URBANISM Naveen Mahantesh
- Rashmi Sawhney is a Bangalore-based academic whose work deals with cinema and visual culture. She is currently an Associate Professor in Film and Cultural Studies at Christ University, Bangalore. She has published widely on cinema, visual culture, and film historiography, and is a contributing editor for a special issue of the Moving Image Review and Arts Journal, on South Asian Artists Film and Video (published by Intellect, UK in 2018), and a special issue on Science Fiction for the journal South Asian Film and Media Studies (published by Intellect, UK in 2015). Rashmi’s interest in science fiction accompanies her explorations of the relationship between history, the future and the present. She sees science and speculative fictions as being ideological terrains as well as political processes through which collective social futures can be imagined. She has also been interested in the intersections between popular cinema and the visual arts and their increasingly overlapping global trajectories.
- Kaushik Bhaumik is Associate Professor in Cinema Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He has been Deputy Director of the Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cineman. He has co-edited Visual Sense: A Cultural Reader and Project Cinema City and was editor of the Marg centennial issue on Indian cinema. He has written extensively on various aspects of Indian film history in international journals and anthologies as well as on contemporary Indian art. In 2012 he did a collaborative art show, The Rise of the BROWNationals, at Chemould, Mumbai. Currently he is co-editing a volume on non-multiplex film exhibition in India and doing a research project on the cultures of global modernity in Bombay, 1950-1980.
- Juneza Niyazi is an architect and holds a Master’s degree in Interaction Design. She has experience creating spatial interactive installations and speculative digital art for international design festivals. Through her illustrations and physical installations, she is constantly questioning ways to push her art against the limits of technology and trigger nuanced algorithms of emotion and history. She is currently collaborating with a typography artist from Russia to explore the possibilities of creating Type in the VR space. Her medium is usually 3d software with an added layer of interactivity. She often collaborates with developers and electronic engineers to create art at the intersection of the analogue and digital world.
- Akshaya Narsimhan is a Bengaluru-based architect, artist and educator with a practice that locates itself at the intersection of all or sometimes none. Her work focuses on creating thought-provoking experiences, through participation and exchange. Inspired by themes of identity, ordinary conversation and spatial interaction, she aspires to find familiarity and relevance in plural contexts. With a background in architecture (TVB School of Habitat Studies) and art (Edinburgh College of Art, UK), Akshaya constantly strives to converge both her backgrounds by way of short-lived spatial pieces. She has been involved in residencies in the UK and Indonesia, and is currently working on a maker-centric curriculum at an architecture school in Bengaluru.
- WALA is a Delhi-based collective formed in 2009 by Akansha Rastogi, Sujit Mallik and Paribartana Mohanty. Drawing from people who are known by their professions such as kabadiwala, ice-creamwala or paaniwala, the deliberately missing prefix of WALA allows inhabiting multiple forms of belonging, associations and affinities. WALA sees itself as producer of situations, encounters, devices, formats that allow dialogues to occur with or without artists’ presence. WALA has been engaged with performance art and community art projects.
- Niroj Satpathy has a lot of his thought process aided by what he experiences while on the job as a night supervisor in the waste management department and is a self proclaimed apprentice of the night. While watching landfill sites in the light of the stars might not be everyone’s idea of a rewarding creative process, for Niroj, it has shaped him into the artist that he is. He considers himself a participant in the larger ‘process’ and is patient with the time a piece takes to shape itself into a work of art. Some of his works have taken as long as 2 years to complete and some works are intended to be lifelong projects. Niroj enjoys this practice of engaging with the long term, as it keeps the art form ever evolving and open ended, and puts him out of control of the changing nature of the work while welcoming multiple interpretations.
Acknowledgements. Archigram, School of Environment and Architecture - Mumbai, Students’ Biennale - Kochi Biennale Foundation, Ankit Bhargave, Srajana Kaikini, Suman Jadugar, Vanita Gupta.
THE PUBLIC LIFE OF WOMEN: A FEMINIST MEMORY PROJECT NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati
- Nepal Picture Library (NPL) is a digital photo archive run by photo.circle that strives to create a broad and inclusive visual archive of Nepali social and cultural history. Since its inception in 2011, NPL has collected over 110,000 photographs from various private and organizational sources across Nepal. The archive serves as an open repository for materials that can secure a multicultural and pluralist representation of Nepali history. It also functions as a medium for active public engagement through which Nepali people can deepen meaningful connections with the past. As part of its objective to create a visually dense version of Nepali history for and with public audiences, NPL has created a network of professionals with interest or specialized knowledge in museum design, preservation, curation, exhibition, graphic design, oral history, writing, education, ethnography, visual culture, media, art history, photography, and publishing.
Acknowledgements. The first phase of research has been made possible by a grant from the Magnum Foundation.
LOAFING ART Nayomi Apsara
- Aruna Vidana Arachchi studied visual art and craft at the Visual and Performing Arts University in Colombo and engages in sculpture, 3D art forms, and drawing. He currently conducts lectures and instructs human figure modeling and other types of model making at the university. He has exhibited at the National Art Gallery, at a travelling exhibition in Europe entitled ‘Artful Resistance’, and had a solo show at the Theertha Red Dot Gallery in 2009. The works from the solo, ‘Art of Aruna Vidana Arachchi’ are now in several distinguished collections in Sri Lanka. Along with Pala Pothupitiye, Lalith Manage and other artists Aruna started an art school without fees for teenage school children at the Mullegama Art Center. Aruna is a visual art teacher in a government school and believes in teaching art beyond the conventional school syllabus. He lives in Athurugiriya and works at the Mullegama Art Center.
- Bandu Manamperi holds a BFA in sculpture and is a core member of Colombo’s Theertha Artists’ Collective. One of the initiators of performance art in Sri Lanka, Bandu remains one of the leading performance artists active at present. He creates highly personal art experiences based on the transformation of his own body. His art practice also encompasses sculpture, drawing, painting, and installation art. He lectures and consults widely on a range of topics including contemporary art, performance, museology, and local craft traditions in institutions as well as in community service projects.
- Pradeep Chandrasiri is a well-known Sri Lankan artist who has exhibited locally and internationally. He is a visiting lecturer on theatre set design and production design at various universities and theatre schools in Colombo. He has designed award-winning theatre sets for the National Theatre Festival of Sri Lanka. He also received the Commonwealth Art and Craft Award for his work in the visual arts in 2003, which allowed him to participate in a visiting artist programme at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He has participated in many local and international artist programmes since 1998, including the second Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial, at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan in 2002. Pradeep was also an instructor of the ‘Ape Gama’ project.
- Chamara Guruge is a state award winning playwright and involved in conducting personality development programmes with a theatrical approach for youthful offenders at the young offenders rehabilitation center at Sri Lanka prison at Wataraka, affiliating with the Centre for the Study of Human Rights of University of Colombo as a Counselor. His attempts are to assist victims of law and society aged between thirteen to eighteen, in overcoming their guilt by developing their talents, skills and other capacities of art.
Acknowledgements. Kaushalya Kumarasinghe, Dr. Godwin Constantine, Pala Pothupitiye, Inoka herath, Prof. Jagath Weerasingh, Janith KariyawasamPala Pothupitiye, Roshain Vaidyakularatne
THE UNSPOKEN WORD Rahul Gudipudi
- Abdullah Al Othman is an artist and poet. His work is conceptual, and often incorporates the written word, personal manifestos, and tones to suggest various possibilities and meanings. His poetry is published in two volumes, “A Late Memory, 10 seconds” and “This Void May Occur Twice.” In his work, Abdullah searches for that which is fleeting within life, in order “to tighten the fist around that moment and preserve it for eternity.” This artistic vision often sides with the marginal places of life and identities with human dilemmas and struggles. To Duchamp’s “my art is that of living” Abdullah responds with : “Art means living deeply.”
- Diya Naidu is a Bangalore based performer and choreographer. Before becoming independent in 2014 she worked and trained with companies like The Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, Rythmosaic and Danceworx for 14 years. Her solos and ensemble pieces investigate gender, ageing, loss of identity, touch and intimacy and are often mixed-media. She has danced and choreographed in commercials, Indian film and The Company Theatre’s production Khwaab Sa - A Midsummer night’s dream. She recently worked on a virtual and an augmented reality film
- Léuli Eshrāghi is an artist, curator, writer from the Sāmoan archipelago, Pārs plateau, Guangdong delta and other ancestries. Léuli is the inaugural Horizon Postdoctoral Fellow with the Initiative for Indigenous Futures at Concordia University and makes performances, installations, writing and curatorial projects centred on embodied knowledges, ceremonial-political practices, language renewal and Indigenous futures throughout the Great Ocean. Recent residencies include Dhaka Art Summit, Para Site Hong Kong, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Asia Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts, University of British Columbia – Okanagan, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Tautai Trust.
- Manu Ananth’s art is a reflection of his own inner struggles, the torment a hypersensitive individual experiences in an increasingly desensitised world. Profoundly inspired by the transformative power of Nature, his works are dream visions of the sacred interconnectedness that we are all a part of. His works explore the twilight zone, where one straddles the line between darkness and light, “caught in the labyrinth between the Demon and the Divine” as he reveals in his poetry.
Acknowledgements. Arundhati Ghosh, Dana Awartani, G R Prasad, Lara Baladi, Nandini Sundar
SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN Sania Galundia
- Ayushman Mitra, born in Kolkata, is a multi-disciplinary artist who primarily works with mixed media on canvas. Having exhibited in Kolkata, Mumbai and London in various shows, he went on to launch his fashion house ‘Bobo Calcutta’ which is the extension of his art into apparel. He believes in making art available to people in the form of bespoke costumes. His art transcends into fashion through bold colors and abstract forms which explode in chaotic symphony. Themes of sexuality and gender form the core of most of his works. He works extensively with craftsmen from India who develop lavish hand embroidery patterns that adorn his canvases and garments. Mitra has been in the field for a decade and continues to be a part of various exhibitions, fashion weeks and collaborations across the world.
- Desmond Lazaro was born in Leeds, U.K., and is a painter presently based in Pondicherry. After coming to India to pursue his MFA at the MSU Baroda, Lazaro became captivated with the historic painting traditions of Rajasthan and began a life long journey of preserving them. He mastered miniature painting techniques by studying for twelve years under Jaipur Master Banu Ved Pal Sharma. Lazaro also submitted a PhD thesis on the Pichvai painting tradition at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London. Lazaro’s work, as well as his personal history, spans East and West, and he has exhibited extensively in India, the UK, and Germany. Given the artist’s global history, it is fitting that the most ambitious work in Lazaro’s oeuvre is at the new Mumbai airport, an 80 x 50 foot artwork representing the gods and goddesses of South India using traditional woodcarving and re-imagining of the Tagore painting tradition. Airports are part of “the way home,” and Lazaro has been increasingly interested in house and home as part of a wider concern with identity and belonging. The artist elaborates that “sometimes I don’t know how to get home, so I constantly define and redefine it within myself. It’s the typical East-West dichotomy that has informed and continues to inform my work – often summed up with a simple object like a garden shed, a shack.”
- Trisha Bose is an independent illustrator and digital artist based in New Delhi. Post her glorious affair with English honors, she did a corporate stint with an ecommerce company. This opened her eyes to the horrors that awaited her if she were to deliberately disregard her dreams, and so she picked up a paintbrush after five barren years sans art. Thus began a brand new career, and a brutal, yet wholesome struggle to catch up to the person she should have already been. Fast-forward to now, Trisha paints to feed herself and her dogs. She likes aforementioned dogs, psychological thrillers, and food. She entertains herself in activities like constantly making excuses to eat, and creating self-indulgent fan art. Her wanderlust and wallet are constantly at war. She enjoys warm quilts and hot tea.
Acknowledgements. Shireen Gandhy, Urvi Shah, Aparna Andhare, Aashita Galundia
SEDIMENTS: RESISTING ANONYMITY Sharareh Bajracharya
- Sunita Maharjan is a visual artist and art educator from Kirtipur, Kathmandu. She is fascinated by how humans create spaces according to their environment and needs. She moves fluidly among different mediums - painting, installation art, printmaking, weaving, and sewing. The work being exhibited is part of a new body of works for her second solo exhibition entitled “Shared Skies” opening on 2 December, 2018 at the Siddhartha Art Gallery in Kathmandu. She recently showed at the “Young Subcontinent” at the Serendipirty Art Festival (2017). Maharjan is pursuing her MFA at the Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Pakistan. She is a founding member of the nonprofit Srijanalaya that is dedicated to creating safe spaces of learning through the arts and a co-founder of Drawing Room KTM, an artist run studio and learning space.
- Lavkant Chaudhary is based in Kathmandu and grew up in Sarlahi in the eastern region of the Terai. He identifies as Kochila Tharu. He explores how Tharus across the Terai have been systematically denied a dignified life and attempts to contextualize the anger that his community feels. In this process he is constantly searching for the medium that would express this historical reality with both depth and subtlety. He works in two dimensional mixed media as well as sculptural forms. Chaudhary is completing his MFA at the Central Department of Fine Arts, TU and will be showing at the Students’ Biennale 2018 that runs parallel to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Chaudhary is a member of Artree Nepal, an artist collective in Kathmandu and also practices as an individual artist.
- Mekh Limbu is a Kathmandu based artist who grew up in Dhankuta, in the eastern region of Nepal. He reveals the contemporary culture of Nepal, misdeeds of political figures and systematic suppression of the indigenous identity through his artworks. He believes his work is a medium which connections the the earlier and next generation. Limbu explores different medium through his works moving fluidly among pop art, photo montage, animation, video, and painting. “How I Forget My Mother Tongue, 2018” is his newest works where he uses texts, drawings and photographs from historical archives, educational materials and the Limbu Dictionary. He received his MFA from the Central Department of Fine Arts, Tribhuvan University. He has taught at the Lalitkala Fine Art Campus for 5 years. Limbu has been practicing both as an individual as well as in an artist collective, as a member of Artree. He has exhibited at various galleries and museums in Kathmandu, London, Philadelphia, and Goa.
- Subas Tamang enjoys carving, engraving and different forms of printmaking. He belongs to the indigenous Tamsaling community, much of whose history is based on oral narrative traditions that are not well-documented. He seeks to document the cultural and social history of his and other indigenous communities. Tamang is currently completing his MFA at the Central Department of Fine Arts at Tribhuvan University. He is a member of Artree Nepal, an artist collective. This year, he is exhibiting at the Students’ Biennale 2018 running parallel to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. He recently completed a monumental sculpture for the Srihatta Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park commissioned by the Samdhani Foundation (2017).
- Sanjeev Maharjan is inspired by Kathmandu, its social surroundings, and the stories people have lived and created. He was born and raised in a family of Newar farmers in Kathmandu and has experienced the city changing from a valley of farmlands to a sprawl of concrete buildings. He explores notions of identity, histories, memory and nostalgia around his family’s and community’s relationship with the land. He represents these through drawings, paintings, photography, installation and murals. Maharjan has exhibited in Nepal, Belgium, and Denmark. He is a second author of the publication Breaking Views, Engaging Art in Post-‐Earthquake Nepal with the visual anthropologist Christiane Brosius published by Himal Books for the Social Science Baha. Maharjan is a founding member of the nonprofit Srijanalaya that is dedicated to creating safe spaces of learning through the arts and a co-founder of Drawing Room KTM, an artist run studio and learning space.
- Sheelasha Rajbhandari is a visual artist based in Kathmandu. Her mixed media installations depicts the parallel - yet, often contradictory - existence of traditional beliefs and historic ideas with contemporary events and evolving lifestyles. She is interested in exploring alternate histories like folktales, folklore, legends, oral histories, mythologies etc along with reference of mainstream history. Her recent works explore how Nepal is transforming from once being an important centre for trans-Himalayan trade, and expressing power struggles through a gender perspective. Rajbhandari is careful about choosing materials and methods that align with her conceptual framework. Rajbhandari completed her MFA from Tribhuvan University’s Central Department of Fine Arts 2014 and has exhibited in Dhaka, Hong Kong, Yangon, Warsaw, Goa, Denmark, South Korea, among other places. Rajbhandari is a cofounder of the artist collective, Artree Nepal, which was established in 2013.
Acknowledgments. Kumudini Gurung, Ben Ayers, Gyanu Adhikari, Ishita Shahi, Sangeeta Thapa, Sujan Chitrakar, Pooja Sood and Veerangana Solanki.
PAST DOESN’T HAVE ANY VANISHING POINT Shimul Saha
Acknowledgments. Deepak Ruhil, Deepti Babbar, Mahbubur Rahman, Rajender Singh, Rajnish Chhanesh, Tanzim Wahab andTayeba Begum Lipi
SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW THE CLOSET? Sumitra
- QAMRA (Queer Archive for Memory Reflection and Activism) as the name suggests, is a gender and sexual minorities archive in India. It is a physical archive, located in the southern city of Bangalore. The idea for this archive is the brainchild of T Jayashree, an independent filmmaker who has been documenting the LGBTQ+ movement on video in India. QAMRA intends to be a ‘living’ archive – not just to recreate nostalgia but giving meaning to this nostalgia, grief and memory into something present and active. The material in QAMRA is about the public history of the movement, but the focus is also on private lives of individuals, of which there is very little existing documentation.
- Orinam, founded in 2003, is an all-volunteer unregistered collective of LGBTIQA+ people and allies based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It functions as a support, cultural and activist space. The website lists helplines and also features a blog. Orinam also hosts a comprehensive timeline of the legal struggle to repeal section 377 along with its archive of opinions from the community. Varta
- Varta is an older collective based in Koltaka that also had one of the first magazines on gender and sexuality issues (Pravartak magazine - 1991-2000 and Counsel Club - 1993-2000). They have modelled themselves as a resource centre as well as a Webzine that features articles and stories from and of the community.
Acknowledgements. Neelima P Aryan, T Jayashree
ILÂJ Yasaman Tamizkar
- Hamed Jaberha has been working as a graphic designer for 17 years. He is the director of Studio “HEH” in Tehran. He has been a program coordinator in Rybon art center in Iran — Rybon is an international institute that was established in 2008 in the field of contemporary critical art. He is also a visual artist and works in art photography, video art and installation. In recent years he has created installations in series that are largely based on or influenced by photos. His works represent a close connection between image, imagination, history, politics, philosophy, and society. As a multidisciplinary artist, he has a critical viewpoint about his surroundings. As a Middle Eastern citizen, he is inspired by his daily personal experiences. He has held 3 solo exhibitions in Iran and participated in many photography, video art and interdisciplinary art group exhibitions in Iran, Poland, Japan, England, Czech Republic, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and Bangladesh.
- Sara Ghods started her artistic experiments from an early age. Attending art school was the beginning of her professional practice. After completing her BA in Painting at Tehran University of Art, she started experimenting with new materials and techniques. She works predominantly in the medium of installation and new media. While exploring silkscreen printing, illustration, ceramics and glaze, jewelry making and sculpture, she also focused on different fields of study such as iconography, mythology, semiotics, nature, human behavior and anatomy, and social and cultural studies She then went on to continue her MA in illustration at the University of Tehran. Dark humor, rituals, different societies and their reactions towards the future of the world continue to fascinate her.
- Sadra Wejdani is currently based in Tehran. He studied Art & Cross Media Design in the Netherlands and completed his master’s in Communication design (social design) in Brussels. As a multi-output artist he tries to respond to his surroundings through various media on social environmental matters. At the same time urban issues inspire him to work on social design projects as an art director/communication designer. His last solo ceramics exhibtion was in 2017 about consuming products. He also took part in several group exhibitions. The most recent exhibition was in 2018, a collaborative photo installation with the artist Borhan Ebnoddin on the closed and distorted perspective of urban life today. As a communication designer he also cooperates with urban NGOs and collectives on the matter of public spaces. He has also founded a collective that deals with human scale urbanism and transportation.
Acknowledgments. Farhad Khalesi Moghaddam, Farnaz Ghorbani, Gargi Raina, Goethe-Institut (Iran), Mahsa Ranjbarian, Morad Montazami, Tooraj Khamenehzadeh, Volker Redder