Each of our 14 curators work towards assembling a combination of acclaimed works, commissioned pieces, and innovative adaptations within their field of expertise. They will be present at this multi-disciplinary arts festival in Goa to engage, mold and mentor ideas into fruition. Meet them here and on ground.
Discipline Curation by Rahaab Allana and Ravi Agarwal
The Festival examines ideas and practices within photography, addressing traditions of vernacular and lesser knows histories, while simultaneously engaging with archives, studios, as well as specifically commissioned works. As a discipline the curation leans towards examining the truth of the medium through works addressing diverse concerns prevalent through time in the modern society.
Rahaab Allana is Curator/Publisher of the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi; Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society in London and Honorary Research Fellow at the University College, London and has received the Charles Wallace Grant for research in the UK. He currently serves on the Advisory Committees of the Foundation for International Dialogue (Rome); an interim jury for the British Journal of Photography; the India International Center (New Delhi); the Kaladarshan Art Committee, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (New Delhi); and is Advisor/Juror for the prestigious Prix Pictet Award, (London; Switzerland; Paris); The Mack Book Award (London), as well as the Chennai Photo Biennale (India). He has curated various exhibitions, working closely in Museums and galleries such as The Brunei Gallery (London), Rencontres d’Arles (Espace Van Gogh, France), Museum Folkwang (Berlin), the Rubin Museum (New York), Banco de Brazil (Rio), the Royal Fine Art Museum (Brussels) as well as National Museum (New Delhi); The British Council (New Delhi); the Bhau Daji Lad City Museum (Mumbai) where he teaches an annual diploma course on the History of Photography in India. Rahaab has delivered lectures on photography at the European Council for South Asian Studies (Paris) in July 2018. He served as Consulting Curator for the exhibition titled ‘Illuminating India, Photography 1857-2017’ (2017-2018) at the Science Museum, London.
Rahaab is the author of Inherited Spaces, Inhabited Places (2010) produced by the Ministry of External Affairs; and has served as Guest Editor for publications such as Marg (Aperture and Identity, 2009) and the Lalit Kala Akademi (Depth of Field, 2012). He has written and edited volumes on photography for the Alkazi Collection and Mapin. Rahaab is also the Founding Editor of PIX, one of India’s first theme-based photography quarterlies and exhibitionary platform. His forthcoming essay on the “History of Photography and Museum Practices” will be published in 2019 as part of a volume edited by Gayatri Sinha; and he is currently working on a Photography Reader for South Asia. As a collector in his own right, he has co-authored and published a book from renowned collections of Cinema stills and ephemera, titled Filmi Jagat: Shared Universe of Early Hindi Cinema (2014). He was previously on the Cultural Committee of the Alliance Francaise de Delhi for two years.
Ravi Agarwal has an inter-disciplinary practice as an artist, photographer, environmental campaigner, writer and curator. His work explores key contemporary questions around ecology, society, urban space and capital. He works with photographs, video, installations, and public art and has been shown widely in shows, including at the Kochi Biennial (2016), Sharjah Biennial (2013) and Documenta XI (2002). He co-curated the ‘Yamuna-Elbe’, an Indo German twin city public art and ecology project in 2011 and ‘Embrace our Rivers’, a Public Art Ecology project in Chennai (2018).
Agarwal is also the founder of the Indian environmental NGO Toxics Link, which has pioneered work in waste and chemicals in India. He serves on several high-level policy committees, and writes extensively on sustainability issues in journals and books. He was awarded the UN Special Recognition Award for Chemical Safety in 2008 and the Ashoka Fellowship for social entrepreneurship in 1997.
Discipline Curation by Pramod Kumar KG and Kristine Michael
The Craft projects focus on the exploration of everyday objects while bringing to light their histories, and the status of Indian handicraft in the present time, encouraging an equal collaboration between designers and craftspeople. The discipline aims to position the ingenuity of crafts in the present in a contemporary light, while borrowing from the rich reservoir of works from the past.
Pramod Kumar KG
Kristine Michael is a ceramic artist, researcher, curator and arts educator based in New Delhi. She has worked for many years in Garhi Studios (New Delhi), the Golden Bridge Pottery (Pondicherry), and in Auroville. Her works in ceramics are in collections among others of the Bradford Hall Museum, Clay Studio (Philadelphia), Icheon World Ceramics Centre (Seoul), and the National Gallery of Modern Art (New Delhi). She has held over 26 solo shows and participated in international and national group shows. She is the recipient of Junior Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture, The Charles Wallace Trust Award, Sanskriti Award, among others. She was a research scholar under the Nehru Trust at the Victoria and Albert Museum (London) for the study of 19th century Indian ceramics in its collections, and has curated the Ceramics Gallery at the renovated Albert Hall Museum (Jaipur). She publishes regularly about Indian ceramic artists, most recent being as guest editor for Marg (Indian ceramics History and Practice, 2018). She recently curated an exhibition ‘The Art of Kripal Singh Shekhawat’ for Delhi Art Gallery, which was showcased at the Indian Ceramics Triennale 2018 (Jaipur) and Museum of Legacies (Jaipur). She is a PhD scholar at School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and works as Curriculum Leader for Visual and Performing Arts at The British School (New Delhi).
Discipline Curation by Sudarshan Shetty and Dr. Jyotindra Jain
With a continued emphasis on emerging artists from the subcontinent, as well as performance art, street art and a film programme the Visual Arts programming offers a wide spectrum of projects. The Festival puts a spotlight on collections and archives in innovative ways, while examining the role of artist residencies in the contemporary art scene.
Sudarshan Shetty, best known for his enigmatic sculptural installations, has long been recognized as one of his generation’s most innovative artists in India. Shetty attained a BFA in painting from Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai in 1985. Transitioning from painting to installation early in his career, Shetty explores the fundamental ontological challenges presented by our immersion in a world of objects. His installations are developed around a rigorous grammar of materials, mechanical exposure and unlikely juxtapositions of things that may belong to culturally distinct spheres. Moreover, Shetty’s object language eschews narrative as well as established symbolism. He has exhibited widely in India and around the world. His recent shows include ‘A Song A Story’ for the Rolls-Royce Art Programme (2016); ‘Shoonya Ghar – Empty Is This House’ at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi and at the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016); ‘Mimic Momento’ at Galerie Daniel Templon, Brussels (2015);‘Constructs Constructions,’ curated by Roobina Karode, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi (2015); ‘A Passage’ at Staatliche Museum, Schwerin, Germany (2015); ‘The pieces earth took away’, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, 2012, ‘Critical Mass’, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, 2012, ‘Indian Highway’, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2012, and several others. Sudarshan Shetty was the curator of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016.
Dr. Jyotindra Jain
Jyotindra Jain is a Member of the International Advisory of the Humboldt Forum, a multi-arts complex in Berlin; a Tagore National Fellow; and Editor of Marg Publications, Mumbai. Prior to this, he has served as the Director of the National Crafts Museum (New Delhi); Professor of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi); and Member Secretary of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. He was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) and a Rudolf-Arnheim Professor at Humboldt University (Berlin). An eminent scholar of Indian art and popular visual culture, Jain has extensively published in the areas of his specializations, and curated exhibitions shown in some of the most prestigious cultural institutions and museums in India and abroad. He has received the Prince Claus Award for Culture in 1998, and the Cross of Merit––the highest civilian award of Germany––in 2018
Discipline Curation by Atul Kumar and Arundhati Nag
The Festival Theatre programming pushes beyond defined boundaries by moving away from the proscenium. The performances explore fresh avenues to showcase traditional forms with a contemporary twist, introducing young children to the importance of theatre and highlighting the creative presence of marginal communities
Arundhati Nag is Creative Director of Ranga Shankara (Bangalore), a theatre dedicated solely to dramatics. Only the second such space in India, Ranga Shankara, with its show-a-day policy, has changed the way theatre is viewed and performed in Bangalore. Arundhati oversees each aspect of Ranga Shankara––from programming to operations. Arundhati has also pioneered a unique Theatre For Children programme called ‘AHA!’ that makes theatre a part of a child’s life. She is the Managing Trustee of Sanket Trust––a group led by eminent theatre persons of India. Almost single-handedly, she raised the necessary funds to establish Ranga Shankara, which is built entirely on donations and run with huge subsidies for the performing and audience communities.
For over 40 years, Arundhati has also been an actor. She has performed over 1000 shows in five languages in both amateur and professional theatre, winning several accolades along the way. From Shakespeare to Karnad, Ibsen to Beckett and Tendulkar, Arundhati has performed in numerous genres. As a film actor, she has essayed award-winning roles in several films led by India’s finest directors. Arundhati also served as David Lean’s Assistant Director for the production of the film A Passage to India (1984). She also assisted and wrote Hindi dialogues for the legendary TV serial Malgudi Days (1987), based on R K Narayan’s novel, and directed by Shankar Nag. She serves on the advisory boards of several national level institutions.
Discipline Curation by Aneesh Pradhan and Sneha Khanwalkar
The Music programme explores the gamut of traditions in India, as well as the sources of inspiration. The stage is set for international artists, providing the audience an opportunity to experience musicals, along with retro, jazz, and electro funk music. The Festival has unique sound experiences that showcase the cross currents between sound, visuals, space and technology.
One of India’s leading tabla players, Aneesh Pradhan is a disciple of the illustrious tabla maestro Nikhil Ghosh from whom he inherited a rich and varied repertoire of traditional tabla solo compositions from the Delhi, Ajrada, Lucknow, Farrukhabad and Punjab gharanas. Aneesh Pradhan is the recipient of several awards such as the Aditya Birla Kala Kiran Award (2000), the Natyadarpan Award for ‘Best Background Score’ (1998) for music direction to the Marathi play ‘Tumbara’ directed by Sunil Shanbag, the Vasantotsav Award (2012) instituted in memory of the eminent vocalist Dr. Vasantrao Deshpande, and the Saath Sangat Kalakar Award (2013) instituted in memory of G.L.Samant by the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Pune.
A popular performer at most prestigious concerts and festivals in the country, Aneesh Pradhan has also traveled widely and performed overseas at major events. He has recorded prolifically for national and international record labels accompanying a host of vocalists and instrumentalists. Apart from his work with art music, Aneesh Pradhan is also a frequent participant in cross-cultural musical collaborations both in the capacity of performer and composer. He is keen to push the envelope in experimenting with sound and music through his composition for film, television, theatre and dance projects. Aneesh Pradhan has been awarded the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Chair in Indian Studies at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University. Aneesh is the Director of Underscore Records Pvt. Ltd, an independent online record label that he established with vocalist Shubha Mudgal. He alsoco-curatesan international music festival called Baajaa Gaajaa: Music from 21st Century India
Sneha Khanwalkar has played a significant role in changing perceptions of Hindi film music by digitally mixing disparate noises, sounds of local instruments and voices to produce a track. Born and raised in Indore, Khanwalkar was taught music as a child, as her maternal family belonged to the Gwalior gharana of Hindustani classical music. Thriving on taking the composition of music beyond the studio, Sneha conceptualized and hosted the MTV mini-series ‘Sound Trippin’, travelling the length of India and collecting local ambient sounds and recording with everyday and local musicians, and creating a final piece of music.
With projects like Gangs of Wasseypur, Khoobsurat, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, Love Sex aur Dhoka in her repertoire, Khanwalkar brings with her a mix of eccentric as well as upbeat music. Sneha won Filmfare’s R.D Burman Award for the best music director for the film Love Sex aur Dhoka in 2011 and was nominated in the Best Music Director category at the 58th Filmfare Awards for Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 & Part 2. Most recently, Sneha has composed the music for the internationally acclaimed film, Manto (2018).
Discipline Curation by Mayuri Upadhya and Leela Samson
The curation of the Dance programme attempts to engage as many forms of contemporary and traditional Indian dance as possible, including folk; at their core, these projects are interdisciplinary in nature, resulting in a balance between music, dance and drama. Many of these projects venture into alternate spaces, where the emphasis is more on the body in relation to space and technology.
A choreographer, an educationist and a creative entrepreneur––Mayuri Upadhya’s career has foraged beyond the conventional dance network. Her canvas of work depicts a wide range. Her two decades long journey is marked by a beautifully balanced mix of efforts towards visual interpretations, cultural sensitivity, conditioning future generations, and capacity building. Among many others, Mayuri has received awards such as The “International Competition of choreography for Asian Dance Productions” (South Korea) and the BROADWAY WORLD Best Choreographer Award for the epic musical ‘Mughal-e-Azam’.
Her transformation from a simple girl-next-door to a visionary entrepreneur is attributed to her grounding in Indian classical forms, complemented by contemporary training. But most of all, her enthusiasm to enable this entrepreneurship stems from her vision of making dance a sustainable industry in India, which she believes, when woven with innovation, has the potential to reach all segments of society. She currently heads Bangalore-based premier dance organization Nritarutya.
Leela Samson received the impulses for her growth as a dancer from Kalakshetra, Chennai, where she was a student from 1961 to 1967, while also studying at the Besant Theosophical High School. From 1975 to 2005 she taught at the Sriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra and privately in Delhi, and choreographed a body of work titled ‘Spanda’, which is known for its innovations in Bharatanatyam. Over twenty years since its inception, Spanda continues to enthrall audiences with its innovativeness in tradition. Leela has travelled extensively and performed at leading festivals of dance in India and abroad.
She had served as Director of Kalakshetra from 2005 to 2012; as Chairperson, Sangeet Natak Akademi from 2010 to 2014; and as Chairperson, Central Board of Film Certification from 2011 to 2015. At Kalakshetra, she imbued an integrity and dynamism in teaching and performance, and a widening of the academic scope of the dancer graduating from its portals, besides initiating several publications, films and documentation of the founder’s dance dramas. Leela has also authored books on dance: Rhythm in Joy (1987) and Rukmini Devi – a life (2010) are a select few titles. She is the recipient of the Sanskriti Award in 1982, the Padmashri Award in 1990, the Nritya Choodamani Award in 1997, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2000, and the Natya Kala Acharya Award from the Music Academy (Chennai) in 2015.
Discipline Curation by Rahul Akerkar and Prahlad Sukhtankar
The Festival moves away from the idea of food being a means to sustenance, and discovers the different possibilities of food as art/performance, innovation and delight. The Culinary Arts discipline programming aims to provides a unique food experience through curated workshops, talks and tastings with focus on local produce and regional flavours.
Rahul Akerkar’s culinary practice is about mixing his passion for life, food, and science, and he has succeeded in blending these key ingredients into a career as one of Mumbai’s leading restaurant moguls. Regarded as the pioneer of the independent chef-restaurateur-run eateries in Mumbai, he has shifted the focus on fine dining away from the five-star hotel domain. Akerkar co-founded deGustibus Hospitality with his wife, Malini, in 1996. They operate six restaurants in Mumbai, including the much-acclaimed Indigo, a bar, an event/banqueting space, and a catering business. Akerkar’s newest restaurant, Qualia, opened in Mumbai in April 2019.
Prahlad Sukhtankar graduated with a BBA in Marketing and Hospitality from Les Roches, Switzerland. He was quickly picked up by the ultra-luxury, Four Seasons group of hotels, where he worked his way up within the company, through North America and Canada. In Vancouver he earned a Sommelier’s degree from the acclaimed International Sommeliers Guild (ISG) with Honours. In 2014, Prahlad with his wife and business partner, Sabreen, opened the doors to their first restaurant, The Black Sheep Bistro. With a vision and concept that stepped out of the mainstream and provided their guests with unique experiences. The restaurant has enjoyed much success through the years finding itself on various lists of top restaurants of the country. In March 2019, the duo launched their second restaurant in Panjim city, Black Market––a place where one can find the unusual but always sinfully delicious food.