Young Subcontinent: Sightlines – Serendipity Arts Festival

Young Subcontinent: Sightlines

Through the last two editions, the Young Subcontinent (YS) project attempted to chart the contours and sightlines of South Asian art imagination and art practice, illustrating and celebrating the lines of convergence, the commonalities in historical experiences, the entanglements of its cultural roots, and most crucially, its shared aspirations and dreams. These tapestries of art practices from across the continent meditated upon and mediated the complex social, religious and political spheres of life in the Subcontinent. While, the first edition triggered dialogue and exchange between the artists from the region, the second edition probed further the socio-cultural and political tensions and struggles that animate and also in many ways, restrict imagination and art-making in the region. YS opened up contemporary aesthetic parallels to the much-trodden trade routes of yore, tracing common lineages of art history and practices, shared traditions of faith and ideas and ideologies of the sacred and the secular. The experiences of sharing a common space/platform at YS and the exchanges it provoked and pursued, brought to the surface the need to reinvent and reassert vital connections and traditions of exchange, to strengthen arts infrastructure and the urgency of developing vibrant platforms for intercultural dialogues and synergies.

These interfaces invariably pointed to the potential of art in excavation and celebration, assertion and redirection of tools and techniques, resources and efforts towards rediscovering and reasserting the cosmopolitan roots and global imagination of the region. In the present global art, economic, and political context, such articulation of creative discourses and fresh sightlines are essential to foresee and forge new, exciting common futures through art-making, art-thinking and art-organising.

The geopolitical dynamics of South Asia is subject to several local, regional, national and global factors. On the one side is a kind of globalisation imagined and imposed by capital, aggressively moulding the structure and direction of economics and politics of nation states in the region. On the other are the menacing forces of fundamentalism and totalitarianism that threaten the democratic fabric and ways of living in this region. So an art project like YS is necessarily a struggle against monolithic culturalism and narrow nationalism based on othering, and one that argues vehemently for the coexistence and celebration of pluralities that constitute South Asia, its societies, identities, politics, economy and culture.

With this in view, the YS project ought now expand points of contact, explore sightlines of common struggles and aspirations, look at reassertion and reinvention of geographies, facilitate conversations and narratives of peaceful coexistence and democratic aspirations. YS aspires to imagine and develop into a free platform of art-making and theorizing, storytelling and mentoring, that will draw, and draw from, new sightlines for inter-cultural and political diplomacy.

Curatorial Assistant Anuj Daga
Advisors Amrith Lal, C.S. Venkiteswaran
Nepali Artists Supported by Chaudhary Foundation
A Serendipity Arts Foundation Initiative

Artists: Arijit Bhattacharya, Arjun Das,Ayesha Zulfiqar, Bikkil Sthapit, Fathima Rukshana, Gyempo Wangchuk, Jigesh Kumar, Karma Tshering Wangchuk, Kathyayini Dash, Kavan Balasuriya, Minzayar Oo, Moe Satt, Mustafa Khanbhai, Partha Sengupta, Pooja Pant, Saranraj V, Seema Nusrat, Shamsia Hassani, Shikh Sabbir, Shivangi Ladha, Shristi Shrestha, Soma Surovi Jannat, Suntharam Anojan and Vipin Vijay.

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