VAICA Catalogue 2019

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Cover Image: from The Forest by Ranbir Kaleka



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS VAICA curators Bharati Kapadia and Chandita Mukherjee would like to thank the people whose support and co-operation has made the VAICA festival of Video Art by Indian Contemporary Artists possible. In the first place, the participating artists, who responded so wholeheartedly to our call with contributions of their work. You will read more about them later in this catalogue. Kiran Nadar Musem of Art and Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation for financial support to the project. Special thanks to Akansha Rastogi of KNMA and Kamini Sawhney of JNAF. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan, G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture and Godrej India Culture Lab, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Museum of Goa, National Institute of Design, Dept of Fine Arts at the Maharaja Sayajirao University. for hosting the various parts of VAICA at their auditorium spaces.


Ayesha Aggarwal, for developing the visual identity of VAICA, designing the catalogue and other collaterals. Amrita Gupta Singh, Anjali Monteiro, Anuj Daga, Dipti Nagpaul, Smriti Nevatia and V Divakar for sharing their critical perspectives at discussions held after screenings at the various locations. Anuj Daga for designing the VAICA website and Maitreyee Rele for designing and managing the VAICA campaign on social media. Fred Poonawala and the team at Comart for print production of the catalogue and posters. V P Jacob and Umesh Ipte of Comet Media Foundation for administrative and logistical support.

MUMBAI CHAPTER VISITORS’ CENTRE, CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ VASTU SANGRAHALAYA Part 1: 2nd November, 2019, 6pm to 8pm Part 2: 9th November, 2019, 6pm to 8pm Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai

GOETHE-INSTITUT / MAX MUELLER BHAVAN Part 3:16th November, 2019, 6:30pm to 8:30pm K Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai

G5A FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY CULTURE Part 4: 23rd November, 2019, 6:30pm to 8:30pm G-5/A Laxmi Mills Estate, Shakti Mills Lane Off Dr E. Moses Road, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai

GODREJ INDIA CULTURE LAB Part 5: 30th November, 2019, 4.30pm to 8.30pm Godrej One, Pirojshanagar, Eastern Express Highway Vikhroli East, Mumbai

Image from SeaWatchers by Surekha

Closing panel discussion moderated by Anuj Daga, with panelists Amrita Gupta Singh, Anjali Monteiro and V Divakar, followed with a reception hosted by the Godrej India Culture Lab.






Part 1: 3rd January, 2020 Part 2: 4th January, 2020 Part 3: 5th January, 2020 Part 4: 6th January, 2020

Part 1: 18 February, 2020 Part 2:19 February, 2020 Part 3: 20 February, 2020 6:15 to 8:30 pm on all days

5:30 pm to 8:00 pm on all days National Institute of Design, Paldi, Ahmedabad DLF South Court Mall, Saket, New Delhi GOA CHAPTER




Part 1: 7 February, 2020, 4:00 pm to 6:30pm Part 2: 8 February, 2020. 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm Part 3: 8 February, 2020, 4:00 pm to 6:30pm Part 4: 19 February, 2020, 11:00 am to 1:30 pm

Part 1: 22 February, 2020, 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm Part 2: 23 February, 2020, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm Part 3: 23 February, 2020, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm Department of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University Campus, Baroda

Museum of Goa, Pilerne Industrial Estate, Goa


Image from Ismail by Anshuman Chakraborty 5

Creating new platforms for video art kamini sawhney

Video as a medium entered the international art world though the work of practitioners like Nam June Paik and Andy Warhol in the 60s and 70s. It took the art world in India a while longer to log on. They seem to have preferred the more traditional mediums of drawing, painting and sculpture and it was only in the 1990s that Indian artists warmed to this medium. Today video art is an important part of the contemporary art scene. It is not surprising that several artists who have grown up with moving images have found them to be a valuable tool to express their ideas and emotions and to provoke new thought. Their experimentation began as an extension of their earlier practice, with the arrival of small, inobtrusive and affordable video cameras. Now video art has moved beyond this frame of reference to include a whole range of production formats and strategies, experimental street documentaries, the recording of performances or even found footage and archival recordings as material. The Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation (JNAF) seeks to provide a platform for multiple conversations on art even as modern Indian art remains its core focus. Some of the artists in the collection, notably Nalini Malani, who are early practitioners of video art have found it a valid and relevant form of artistic expression. In supporting VAICA, the JNAF recognises the importance of this medium and looks to widen audience appreciation and participation.

KAMINI SAWHNEY is a curator with the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, housed in the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. Since 2011, she has helped bring to the public realm a series of exhibitions structured around the JNAF collection.


Speaking of video art in India chandita mukherjee When Bharati Kapadia approached me with the idea of doing a festival of video art, I assented at once. It seemed a worthwhile thing to do and she needed a hand with the jobs to be done behind the scenes of a festival. The effort also required an organisational entity, so Comet Media Foundation came in. For the name of the festival, Bharati came up with the acronym VAICA, for Video Art by Indian Contemporary Artists, a title that soon caught on with all our contributing artists and associates. My first thought was that the term ‘video art’ was anachronistic, out of sync with the times. Analogue media is extinct and replaced by digital media everywhere. No one works with video tape any more. What is common between today’s digitally produced art and the video art and art films of past decades is the projected image. It may be an action packed moving image or a static image with subtle changes, but it is an artistic expression in light, that is seen as a projection or on a monitor screen. This, as against drawing, painting, print-making, sculpture and so on, which are traditionally what visual art is imagined to be. Through the Eyes of a Painter in a catalogue designed by Bharati Kapadia for M F Husain's show at Sao Paolo Biennale, 1971. 7

Calling the works we were considering “video art” meant, in a sense, tying this art form to an older point in the development of technology. Such terms change constantly, and are therefore slippery and easily outgrown. I felt it would have been salubrious to have found a term that transcended technology and delineated the nature of the artistic activity itself. Bharati laughed off my objections as being too technical and referred to something called “the language of video”. Since everyone seemed to recognise what “video art” is, I decided, “What works, works”, there was no point quibbling about it, and so VAICA it remained. Apart from motion and projection, what the 67 works in the VAICA festival have in common is that the 35 participating artists all come from the stream of visual art. With the exception of one self-trained artist, the rest have formal training in art and one has done a formal course in cinema direction, after an art degree. That is, they have trained and worked on creative expression as a way of life and self-identify as artists. Many continue to work in the more conventional media. All have an awareness of being Indian artists, though some live outside of Indian terrain. When speaking of moving images as a form of art, as an aside and a salute to the past, one must mention the experimental films made on film, 35mm and 16mm film, by artists like M F Husain, Through the Eyes of a Painter (1967); Akbar Padamsee, Syzygy, and Events in a Cloud Chamber, (both 1969); Tyeb Mehta, Koodal (1970); and Pramod Pati’s Abid featuring Abid Surti (1970). However, these were created long before the coming of video art as we know


Remembering Toba Tek Singh,1998 Nalini Malani | Video triptych, courtesy Devi Art Foundation

it at present, which emerged after video equipment for recording and editing images became easily available. Few may be aware that video technology became available outside state-owned broadcasting in India only in 1991 or so. Earlier, only the national broadcaster Doordarshan and a handful of government agencies like the Indian Space Research Organisation, were authorised to import video equipment. In other words, it was illegal to own video equipment privately. With economic liberalisation in 1991 and the lobbying of the commercial film and TV industry, the doors opened. Video equipment was now available to anyone to buy or to rent. Early video art consisted of moving images, looped, largely without a plot and displayed as a part of installations in art galleries. The first significant video art

that one can remember was done in 1993 by Vivan Sundaram as part of his Memorial show, after the Bombay riots of 1992-93 that followed the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Soon after that, Navjot Altaf, responding to the same events, showed Links Destroyed and Rediscovered (1994). Then came Nalini Malani’s Remembering Toba Tek Singh (1998) taking off from Saadat Hasan Manto’s story set against the backdrop of Partition. With the new millenium we saw a wave of more individualistic works, Sonia Khurana’s Bird (2000) and Ranbir Kaleka’s Man with Cockerel (2001) among many others, which transformed the video art scene.

Having closely watched the evolution of video art in the country over the past two and half decades, I cannot help but remark on the wide range of subjects and treatments we see in the VAICA works and the sharp improvement in the quality of the images. The key to these works doesn’t lie in technique but in the structuring of the stories and the sensibilities these reflect. The implicit aesthetics in these works reflect a blurring of traditional film genre categories like fiction films, documentaries, home movies, commercial promos, political statements and so on.

In these early works made on videotape, the artists largely depended on persons trained professionally in camera, sound and editing for technical support. The edits were made through a process of copying and sequencing from various source tapes. In this repeated series of copies, each copy down the line known as a generation, there was a degradation of the image, the final output being at least the third generation from the original. Managing the visual quality of the image was one of the challenges of the early attempts at video art.

All said, video art in India is still at a nascent stage. There are interesting experiments going on. To make it move further into public awareness, it will take stronger patronage, besides a commitment to displaying video art and to talking about it. VAICA is one such attempt to build awareness about video art. For VAICA, we at Comet Media Foundation have been fortunate to receive financial support from the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in Delhi and Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation in Mumbai, two private collections of contemporary art which have moved into the public space. Then comes the support of the cultural institutions that have lent us their spaces for screening our five parts of two hours each. We hope to take this set of works to other cities in coming months and to continue our efforts into future years with further editions of VAICA. We are open to all suggestions and invitations in this regard. CHANDITA MUKHERJEE is a documentary filmmaker, she heads Comet Media Foundation and is co-curator of VAICA.

Links Destroyed and Rediscovered,1994 Navjot Altaf | Site specific installation, courtesy the artis


Collective Dreaming bharati kapadia in conversation with smriti nevatia

Image from The Forest by Ranbir Kaleka


SN: As a practicing artist yourself, for whom video is not the primary medium, what draws you to video art, speaking both as an artist and as the curator of this project? BK: I have made only one video myself (L For…), for a show titled Text as Text where the brief was to use text as the medium of expression. First I wrote a piece, which I felt needed to be heard, so it was recorded. Then my response to the audio was to extend the work through performance and develop it as a video work. This was my first experience of working with video. Having watched videos by other artists, I was familiar with the possibilities of the medium. As an artist, certain features of these videos, which were entirely different from conventional videos and films raised questions which needed to be addressed. As a curator, I strongly felt the need to create a free public platform for video art as practiced by Indian artists today. If out of curiosity, or interest, people outside the art circuit want to know how visual artists work with the medium of video, it is difficult for them to access the artists’ works. Usually, they are found on artists’ or galleries’ websites, or in art archives. I wanted to create a space where artists, art students, media students, cultural critics – and anyone interested in contemporary art developments – could come to see and discuss these works. I approached Chandita Mukherjee with the proposal to work together on the festival project, which we named VAICA.

Tell me more about the process of the festival, starting with the name VAICA. VAICA is an acronym for Video Art by Indian Contemporary Artists. Chandita is a documentary filmmaker working out of Comet Media Foundation and a good friend. She had been screening out-of-the-box films at the Comet space in the Fort area, some of which I had seen. Her response was “Yes... let’s do it!” That’s how VAICA was conceived, and we started developing it into a viable project as co-curators. Chandita’s acumen in shaping a project comprehensively, sensing its potential and combing through its various strands to figure out how to extend its impact so that it is able to generate resource response — qualities such as these proved indispensable. Initially we had thought of doing it on a much smaller scale, in the Comet space itself. But the response I received from the invited artists was tremendous! I had selected 39 artists whose work I responded to, and who were making videos as part of their art practice. Of these, 35 accepted. We have over 65 video works which have been sequenced in five parts, to be screened over the five Saturdays in November 2019. The stipulated duration limit for each artist’s work was 15 minutes. Some artists who had shorter video works submitted sets of works. Such a wealth of material was surely a call to evolve the project into a much larger event, for which we needed to source financial and venue support. It’s not at all easy to find sponsors and for VAICA, they appeared in stages. I spoke with the assistant curator of KNMA (Kiran Nadar Museum of Art), Delhi, Akansha Rastogi, about our project, and after a few days they said they would like to sponsor half the budget and come in as co-presenters. Then Kamini Sawhney of Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation saw the potential of the project, and after a word with the trustees, came back


with support for the remaining amount. She spoke with Sabhyasachi Mukherjee, Director General of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and he agreed to host two of our five events or Parts in the Museum auditorium. We also spoke with Anuradha Parikh of G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture, Parmesh Shahani of the Godrej India Culture Lab, and Amruta Nemivant of Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan. Their institutions came in as host partners, lending us their cultural spaces for one evening each. And VAICA was on its way to becoming a reality! I see. I haven’t heard of anybody putting together a showing of just video art by Indian contemporary artists in one place, with that being the overarching curatorial intent. So is it the first time something like this is happening? At the VAICA festival, we will be screening single-channel videos. There is no facility for multi-channel or looped videos or video installations. Video art has generally been shown in India as part of exhibitions along with other art forms like painting and sculpture, or as art installations. For instance, Ranbir Kaleka has played with this form in many ways, one of which is projecting the video on the surface of his canvas painting and creating a third entity through the fusion of the two. The manner in which VAICA will work is that each Saturday screening will be interspersed with short intervals after every two or three videos, to allow audiences to respond. This kind of exposure, as far as I know, has not been forthcoming for video as an art form.


Circle the wold in 24 by Archana Hande

You have in this show works that are very varied, stylistically and formally and also in terms of what we might call narrative content. There is animation of different kinds; there is a linear story with a protagonist; there is overt autobiography; there is abstraction. There is fiction, there is documentary. One might almost be talking about a regular film festival! Most of all, perhaps, there is a certain experimentation using cinematic language and elements. How then do we understand video art as distinct from works of cinema? What distinguishes the video artist's attempt from that of the artistically engaged filmmaker?

I see more than one question there! I will answer the last question first. One of the key differences between video art and what we usually term cinema is that video art does not rely on many of the conventions that define cinema. Video art does not necessarily use actors, may not contain dialogue, has no discernible storyline or plot and does not always stick to the devices that go into making cinema as entertainment. Its intentions are more varied, and it challenges viewer expectations as shaped by conventional cinema. It is a time-based art form which can function as a magnifying glass through which you can study/examine a time, a space, and what goes on there during the limited duration of the video. The experience takes place in OUR space, not "out there” somewhere. And now to come back to the first part of your question. Yes, there is a wide range of stylistic and formal experimentation. Plus, as you put it, like in a film festival, the narrative content differs hugely as do the style and format. Let me put it this way, there are multiple perceptions at play here. It was a curatorial decision not to fence the content of the films within a boundary of a particular theme or issue. One of the intentions behind VAICA is to expose audiences to the rich and varied palette of how artists are using this medium to visually articulate their concerns. And many of the videos are experiments with the vocabulary of video, to see the limit of the liberties one can take with this medium. Some artists, like Archana Hande, Muskaan Singh, Ranu Mukherjee, have worked with hand-painted and hand-drawn images.

I don’t think duration is much of a factor. There are festivals of short videos where the time limit is two minutes. It’s more about the difference in the approach of video art-making which differs from that of films we are more familiar with. Very long and continuous shots where the camera movement is so subtle that the image before us seems to be still when it is not. Multiple frames on the screen, in which the same or similar action continues to repeat itself. The notion of time, stretching the limits of our attention span, making us aware of the moment itself,

Would you say the distinction is about the length of a piece, or the freedom to explore and push boundaries, or the space where it gets exhibited? Home and the world by Ranu Mukherjee

can generate an immersive experience if we have surrendered all preconceived expectations and are receptive to that which is going on before our eyes. This is the state of being we are required to be in, to absorb and respond to that which we are viewing and hearing. Perhaps video art is able to do what narrative cinema cannot quite sustain, but which it can and does attempt. In that sense, I can imagine artist videos having an influence on fiction or docu filmmakers, as much as the other way around. Would you like to comment on what I see as the “singularity” approach that I feel characterises the dozen or so videos I've seen, of this festival? Each video takes a single encounter or experience, a specific event or setting, or in any case one basic idea, and works within its confines to produce a certain intensity of affect. Or a specific kind of momentum, through repetition.

It complements the diversity of form, style and subject matter of the videos. I mean, that is expected from a range as wide as we have in VAICA, isn’t it? Sound too is explored in multiple ways in each video. This project of course includes only single-channel videos, probably because of the constraints within which you are working, but given that a lot of contemporary video art is multi-channel, did that make you feel that this showing is not able to be representative enough? Or do you see this as the start of an engagement where eventually you might have multi-channel works in a subsequent edition? No, I do not consider the single-channel screening as a limitation. This festival is intentionally presented as a screening of single-channel videos. We are

Many videos have what you term as the singularity approach. A few do come to mind that may not quite fall under this category, like Jahangir Jani’s Make Ups which is a collage of a day in the lives of three protagonists living in Mumbai, or Darshana Vora’s Interior Projections (Private View) which is a collection culled from videos made at various times. But, as an artist, am I not building my art work around a centre toward which the work moves? This orientation, as I see it, would apply, more or less, to a number of these visual artists. There's background music that is sometimes quite dramatic; there is ambient sound that often seems designed to disturb. There is also voice-over commentary. What do you think of the diverse ways in which sound has been used? Make Ups by Jahangir Jani 14

focusing on video as a medium for artists to create their work. Like painting, sculpture, photography, and so on, video is a medium and a technique with which to form one’s art. Art video as a multi-channel projection has been a dominant feature in art installation exhibits. Here in this festival, video is spotlighted as an art medium through the screening of a varied range of videos. About subsequent editions, this is the first edition of VAICA and we are focusing on that currently. We are in the process of talking to people in other cities who would be interested in presenting VAICA. KNMA is already doing the Delhi edition at their museum auditorium in December this year. Working on an exhibition of multi-channel installations is a very different cup of tea — in fact, it may be a different drink altogether: if one is tea, the other is coffee! What were the things you looked for while selecting these videos – was it mainly an intuitive process, or were there boxes that had to be ticked? Would you like to share some specific responses you had to specific works? I selected the artist and not the videos per se. The artists I invited were those whose work I had responded to over the years, who had included the medium of video in their art practice. They sent me the works they wished to send, sometimes including extra videos so that I would have options to select from. I am truly grateful for their full support and backing in making VAICA happen. I looked for clarity and visual power which could hold the interest of the spectator. These works are not easy on the mind. The bewilderment that a contemporary artist working with fresh approaches or abstraction often meets with is, “I don’t understand what the work is about, so how can I respond to it?”

Untitled by Muskaan Singh

Art videos are even more susceptible to this kind of response. As I said earlier, unless the viewer is willing to abandon the baggage of expectations and notions built up over time, she could feel at sea while watching video art. Would you like to share some specific responses you had to specific works? I feel that sharing my response to particular videos here will amount to indirectly limiting others’ experience and stealing their option of making their own discoveries. So I shall pass that question! 15

What is the plan you have in place for discussions, and what sort of conversations are you hoping for, or expecting? I have no specific expectations. In response to the varied moods of the videos, I would like to take comments and questions from the audience and address them as they come. When the artists are present, they will also interact with the audience. In the process, I hope to throw some light on what has made me group the videos in the order that I have — a sense of their connective links. Although each is different from the other, they whisper, if not talk, to each other. It is not logical and linear reasoning which guides the grouping, but an intuitive feel of the ambience that animates each work. Also, as part of the festival finale, there will be a panel discussion with Amrita Gupta Singh, Anjali Monteiro and V Diwaker as panelists, moderated by Anuj Daga at the end of the Fifth Part of VAICA at Godrej India Culture Lab. With this, we hope to open up the discussion from multiple viewpoints for the audience. How important do you feel it is that audiences "get" these works? Of the videos in this curated show, are there some that still puzzle you? And is that a good thing? “To get” is not the same thing as “to understand”. Understanding appeals to deduction through reasoning, whereas getting implies realising through experiencing. It’s like getting to know a person. I may not be aware of your history, geography or culture which forms your background. But that does not stop me from reading and responding to you as a person.


These videos are challenging. I have had to view some videos more than once to realise the gist of their contents. But a single viewing does carry the potential of intriguing one and opening up immense possibilities to engage with video art from multiple angles. Film scholars have written about the oneiric quality of the cinema experience. There is something about being in a darkened space with other people watching images on a screen that is akin to collective sleep and dreaming. Sometimes real sleep and actual snores happen! With more narrative kinds of cinema art, we dream dreams that are easier to decode. Do you think that the intrinsically greater inaccessibility, or the fact that we may not instantly "get" the work, could actually enhance the dreamlike experience? It depends. Catching a few winks while a video is running is not necessarily an unwanted response. This is part of watching art videos and performances. To exit at a point into sleep and re-enter later can actually be refreshing. It works as a pause for the mind to reset itself and return to its receptive state. But when the mind strains to “solve the puzzle” unwinding before its eyes, it can induce a trance-like stupour — but that is a stupour, not a dream. When the experience of watching the video becomes so immersive that you enter another time-space altogether, we could call it dreaming, collectively or individually.

BHARATI KAPADIA is an artist and co-curator of VAICA. SMRITI NEVATIA is a film festival curator, text editor and researcher-writer. She is the co-author of No Outlaws in the Gender Galaxy (Zubaan, 2015). She enjoys looking at and responding to art.


All is Fair in Magic White (09:54) Of Panorama (10.00) RANU MUKHERJEE

Home and the World (05.13) VIBHA GALHOTRA

Manthan (10.52) ATUL BHALLA

Kaner, Kaner (13.30) SUREKHA

SeaWatchers (03:00) MONALI MEHER


Through the Door (05:38) SUREKHA


Wall (07:15) BAPTIST COEHLO "Beneath it all... I am human..." (09:55) "If it would only end..." (03:45)

Home and the World is a hybrid film, drawing parallels between the history represented in Ray’s film Ghare Baire (Home and the World) and the present/future moment. The work is inspired by the magnitudes of the multipolis Mumbai and a general sense of the urban present undergoing rapid transformation. RANU MUKHERJEE

All is Fair in Magic White is a deceptively simple account of popular notions of female beauty. The film reveals the deeply entrenched cultural and economic inequalities in the post colonial city. ARCHANA HANDE 18

Of Panorama puts a spotlight on the politics of land, what the artists calls the "migration of landscapes". The video engages with the 21st century notion of modernity and futuristic infrastructure which distances humankind from nature ARCHANA HANDE

Manthan depicts four people churning the sludge and sediments from the river Yamuna. The artist invokes the samudra manthan episode of the Puranas, where the gods churn the oceans, seeking the nectar of immortality. By referencing this, the work brings up the ecological threat facing the Yamuna.

Kaner, Kaner is part of a larger project on water and human society. The artist celebrates a commonplace plant called kaner, used to demarcate road dividers and pavement edges, surviving in polluting traffic, without water for most of the year. Maybe it has a lesson for us, in managing in water scarcity. ATUL BHALLA


SeaWatchers evokes migration, diaspora and the sea being colonised by earth dwellers. The sea holds many such sagas of myth and history for those who care to listen. SUREKHA


Intezaar (or waiting) uses time as a medium. Time is extended, assembled and attempted to be captured. The aspects of continuity, repetition, vulnerability, duration and temporality, are also inherent qualities in the artist’s art practice. MONALI MEHER

Through the Door addresses the alienation, fear, claustrophobia and struggle experienced by women in urban society, as part of an enquiry into gender subjectivity. The artist uses sound, light and shade, close ups and repeated actions, to fragment and distort bodies and physical spaces, as she articulates metaphorical spaces of the women’s struggle. LOC or Line of Control is a onetake spontaneous work, a contemplation on a creature’s behaviour when confronted with boundaries: real, imagined and metaphorical. SUREKHA



If it would only end... looks at the human cost of the struggle between India and Pakistan over the Siachen Glacier. The artist reveals the three decades of this conflict through the goods that the soldiers would have consumed and hints at perhaps how these commodities have consumed the men. BAPTIST COEHLO

Beneath it all… I am human… illustrates a Siachen soldier’s clothing being systematically and mysteriously removed to reveal his bare body. The act reminds us that beneath the layers of protective gear there exists the human form; an inner layer that is vulnerable. BAPTIST COEHLO

Wall explores the elusive truth behind terror events known as the “failed plot” in media and academic parlance. Such ‘plots’ are believed to have a locus in West Asia or South Asia. They are enacted in different parts of the world and in every case, the network failed to connect or ignite. In a million unrecorded ways, these narratives are completed, abandoned, denied, until their residues subside uneasily in public memory. RANBIR KALEKA



Facing the Silence (08:15) ARCHANA HANDE

Circle the World in 24 (08:09) MUSKAAN SINGH

Untitled (03.42)


Dropped into the Ether (15.04) DARSHANA VORA

Interior Projections (Private View) (09.19) ANURADHA UPADHYAY

Silent Scream (08.28) KHANDAKAR OHIDA

Dekhasona (04.54) MUSKAAN SINGH

The Poetical



Make Ups (09.09) MANMEET DEVGUN

Kahaniyan (07.00) Eat the Apple: An Interrogation (07.00) VIDYA KAMAT

Wish I had Stayed Home (05.50)


Circle the World in 24 explores a paradox. At its heart is an understanding that physical space is closeted, unconnected to the world that it inhabits. The artist’s work is about these "closet" spaces that are static for the time they exist, but have the ability to become fluid and change hands within a span of 24 hours, 24 minutes or even 24 seconds. ARCHANA HANDE Untitled is a work that articulates the artist’s belief that text is a form of drawing and drawing is the transformation of words into image. She responds to the fact that it is difficult to resist and circumvent the rules of the social framework. Her attempt is to represent the effects of social pressures through juxtaposed narratives. MUSKAAN SINGH

Facing the Silence is open to interpretations: whether it is about facing the silence inside, or outside the self, or is it silence facing silence or conversation/ communication with silence. ANURADHA UPADHYAY 23

Dropped into the Ether looks into spaces untouched by linear time. The artist asks where the the liminality of memorials begin and whether we can enter such spaces, or are we perpetually hovering around them? Do we have a moral obligation over memory? HETAL CHUDASAMA

In Interior Projections (Private View), the artist revisits some of her early experimental digital videos and contextualises them into a collection in 2019. Using props for dramatic and poetic suggestion, the collection is quiet as much as it is introspective, opening itself to emotional interpretation. DARSHANA VORA

Silent Scream depicts a process of circular red bindis being slapped onto a woman’s face, eventually covering it fully. She bears it without reacting and submissively allows herself to be led to a position of servility and powerlessness without protest. The artist is critiquing the passive permission given by women to allow society to hijack their lives. ANURADHA UPADHYAY 24

Dekhasona is a Bangla expression for the ‘viewing’ of a bride before marriage by the groom's family. The act of scrutinising a woman’s body as a commodity to be acquired is an age old ritual. The woman is unable to break out of the clutches of custom and she falls prey to the domestic violence that follows the marriage. Objects such as vegetables, fish and human body parts refer to the recurring reality of domestic violence in a metaphorical manner. The Poetical is a work of self-exploration or a conversation with the self. The artist observes that one can create a meditative process of a kind, without being aware of one’s actions, as in the compulsive action of biting one’s own nails. The artist’s wish is to meditate with the mind present, and to thereby create illuminating stories.



Make Ups traces a day in the lives of three protagonists living in Mumbai: the aging actress, the gay typist and the prostitute, all in search of their utopias. JAHANGIR JANI 25

Eat the Apple: An Interrogation explores the practice of honour killing carried out by families in South Asia to ‘punish’ errant women. Using the framework of an interrogation, the artist asks what entitles a family to commit such an act. MANMEET DEVGUN

Wish I had Stayed Home is a comment on ritualistic practices, questioning the role of myths and traditional beliefs in contemporary Indian society. Her context is violence against women and the status of woman in public spaces. VIDYA KAMAT


Kahaniyan uses the camera as a witness to three different experiences of a woman’s life. MANMEET DEVGUN


Ismail (10.32) TUSHAR JOAG


Azaadi (02.55 ) VEER MUNSHI

Leaves like Hands of Flame (04.10) KHANDAKAR OHIDA

Aaj ka Taaza Khabar Pani Mein (06.19) SHARMILA SAMANT

A Story (06.36) KARTHIK KG

Talking Heads (12.32) SHARMILA SAMANT

Shanghai Tales (11.22) TUSHAR JOAG

3 Bullets for Gandhi (05.25) JAHANGIR JANI

Composition VI (07.57) BV SURESH

Arrival (04.30) SUREKHA

Cooking Concepts (05.05) KHANDAKAR OHIDA

Beyond Monochrome (04.14) 27

Ismail is the story of a man abandoned at the margins of the city. The artist has used humour and caricature and sought to show that people like Ismail never run out of wit, however cruel the repression they face every day. He asserts that perhaps wit is the only weapon that can unnerve their oppressors. ANSHUMAN CHAKRABORTY

Phantoms is an elaboration of a thought that we inhabit mental spaces that are increasingly unreal and impervious to reality. The boundaries of these spaces have become cocoons that we refuse to leave. TUSHAR JOAG 28

Aj ka Taza Khabar Pani Mein addresses the issue of intercommunal harmony with a pond as a metaphor for social confluence. The artist is concerned that the religious-minded have been led toward extremism and tries to build a bridge for people from the same locality to live together in harmony. KHANDAKAR OHIDA

Leaves like Hands of Flame by Veer Munshi and Azaadi made in collaboration with Jahangir Jani, both reference the oppression of the Other by a prevailing majoritarian ideology. In Leaves like Hands of Flame Veer has sought to highlight the turmoil caused by being uprooted from one’s home. In his work with Jahangir Jani, we are reminded how all minorities seek freedom, in a telling manner. VEER MUNSHI

A Story is a tale told by a mother to a child. A dull grey bird becomes the king of the birds by assimilating a range of colors from nature, to become the magnificent peacock we know. As background, the colors orange, blue and green are symbolic of the Hindu, Dalit and Muslim sections of society. SHARMILA SAMANT


3 Bullets for Gandhi tells us that M K Gandhi was killed three times: once by the three bullets fired by Nathuram Godse, the second time was the casting away of Gandhian ideology by the people, while the third killing was carried out by the state when it circumvented Gandhi’s ideas of development. TUSHAR JOAG

Talking Heads is a conversation between two neural networks or artificial Intelligence models. One model describes the images in words and the other interprets the text into visuals. This video is the result of the continuous feedback loop between these two talking heads, some of it funny and some depressing. KARTHIK KG 30

In Shanghai Tales we see how Mumbai aims to transform itself into a city like Shanghai through grand building projects. The video takes us to the overcrowded slums, home to the migrants working on the grand projects. It appears that the promise of sustainable development has been abandoned and the first to face demolition and banishment will be the slum dwellers. SHARMILA SAMANT

In Beyond Monochrome the body becomes a medium to question the idea of gender roles in the context of the rituals of a marriage ceremony. The artist critiques the prevailing notions of feminine beauty. KHANDAKAR OHIDA

Composition VI is a series of episodical videos built around the theme of forgotten events, or the fractured memories of such events. JAHANGIR JANI

Arrival is an attempt to engage with time, to beckon the viewer to the urgent concerns of the present. The artist says that his process of video making is akin to working on a painted surface. “Sifting through layers of tones, marks, movements, images and sounds, the video serves as a platform to engage with time.” B V SURESH

In Cooking Concepts, the mundane act of preparing dough becomes a larger-than-life-sized event. Kneading dough reminds the artist of mountainscapes and bodily organs. In the end, these shapes metamorphose into forms that lie somewhere between body organs and flowers. SUREKHA 31


Water Has Memory (07.49) NAVJOT ALTAF

Tana (09.36 ) SUREKHA

The Fountain (01.49) SABA HASAN

Saba Reads her Poems (06.67) MONALI MEHER

Nostalgia (11.31) JEETIN RANGHER

Give Me Red (02.15) Rudhira (02.10) Secret Fire (02.00)


Animated Suspension: Halfway Here (11.00) SHAKUNTALA KULKARNI

Role I would like to play (02.15) Is it just a Game-I / II / III / IV (02.25/ 02.19/ 02.39/ 02.35)


Saba Bandagi Shah project (06.50) DARSHANA VORA

Music Man (04.15) VIJAY SEKHON

Ode to Tchaikovsky (07.14) 32

Water Has Memory has emerged from the artist’s experience of living in a city conjured up from the sea. She sees the unbridled desire to build bigger and bigger, and she reminds us that the residents seem to have forgotten where the city came from. The sea is the protagonist of this video, with its own mind, its own voice, and its own memory. She says “My attempt has always been to turn the ‘found image’ into a visual metaphor, and to charge it with new meaning.” MEERA DEVIDAYAL

The Fountain shows a visual play between clouds and water occurring in a 300 year old natural fountain. The primordial stream begins with a spectacular display of the shooting water which ends as a small streamlet. We may see this as a visual metaphor for “What rises must fall”, pointing to a society that gets its ‘high’ from power and position. SUREKHA

Tana explores the perfection required in the process of warping the thread and weaving. Each thread has to be perfectly arranged at the outset. Visually, the process is like watching an instrument being tuned before a concert. NAVJOT ALTAF


In Saba Reads Her Poems, the poems narrated by the artist point to racial profiling, sexism, state oppression, love, conflict, violence, survival and hope. Her voice works are in English, which is translocated from Urdu, carrying within it perhaps a desire to belong to many worlds.

Nostalgia attempts to make the audience relate to their personal fantasies and experiences through the mediated image. This is what the artist found most challenging in its making.



Give Me Red, Rudhira and Secret Fire are three inter-related works. The artist is interested in self-healing, transformation and creating change through sharing and connecting. He believes the body is the most vital element — vivid, dynamic, powerful and beautiful — where the past, present and future coexist.He says that life and death make a synthesis in the body, where he finds his fears and hopes, memories, and most importantly strength and driving spirit. JEETIN RANGHER 34

In Animated Suspension: Halfway Here, the artist creates, destroys and interacts with illusory objects as if they were real. She first creates a drawn illusion of her bedroom, with all its objects, by mapping partial, skewed-looking forms with paint and charcoal on various architectural planes and on her own body. These abstractions get aligned from one vantage point to generate a seemingly intact form. SUMAKSHI SINGH

Role I Would Like To Play and Is It Just A Game-I / II / III / IV are a set of videos. The artist says that objectification, ownership, commodification, and hierarchical structures are still deeply rooted within society. They surface at various stages, sometimes obviously, sometimes subtly, leading to various kinds of discrimination and violence towards women. Such oppression makes women constantly experience fear, alienation, anxiety and claustrophobia. She has tried to address these issues and the possible ways to deal with them, as part of her art practice. SHAKUNTALA KULKARNI


In Ode to Tchaikovsky, the artist has displaced silent film era images from their original context and placed them in completely fresh sequences, opening up their timelessness. The sound track is from Tchaikovsky's final completed work, the Pathétique Symphony. Vijay feels that these are not images demanding a music score but a score demanding images. VIJAY SEKHON

Saba Bandagi Shah Project is a salute to a distant ancestor. The artist says that water has been a preoccupation and “I have often used reflections in lakes and rivers to mirror the human condition, our connection with nature and water as the basis of life and its flow.” SABA HASAN 36

Music Man is a video made impromptu during a site visit to a crypt for a collaborative arts project in 2007. The artist says that it emerged from exploration of editing styles based on her repertoire of shots. DARSHANA VORA


A levelled playing field (05:24) PARIBARTANA MOHANTY

Trees are stranger than aliens in the movies (08:21) BABU ESHWAR PRASAD

Looped (03.04) Counterfeit (02:49) Vortex (03.06) KARTHIK KG

Alien Simulation (04.31) RANU MUKHERJEE

Xeno-real (05.09) RANBIR KALEKA

Forest (11.03) MITHU SEN

Unpoetry (11.56) BHARATI KAPADIA

L For...



Soyabean Biryani (for Junaid) (11.17) TUSHAR JOAG

Jataka Trilogy (06.39) GARGI RAINA

Black Box (15.25)


A Leveled Playing Field is part of a project emerging from the ruins of the erstwhile textile mills of Mumbai. The onceflourishing industry, housed in majestic stone edifices, today lies sunken in weeds. From cricket as it is played, to cricket as it is watched (on multiple screens) the transformation of the mill into a new avatar had begun. MEERA DEVIDAYAL

Counterfeit is a continuation of the artist’s explorations of the impact of industrialisation on landscapes. The digital collages together various elements of industrial and mining landscapes. The accumulated forms coalesce to form an ironic monument of our times: a dense arch towering over a barren landscape. BABU ESHWAR PRASAD

Trees are stranger than the aliens in the movies is a tour of the ruin, debris and dust that have become part of the urban imagination. The film questions the spectre of modernism in the context of architecture in India. It points out the absence of people’s participation in the attempt to create utopias. PARIBARTANA MOHANTY 38

Vortex is a journey into an landscape made of the debris of obsolete machinery. The compositions focus on the details of this industrial landscape, fractured from its functional state and constructed into another reality. BABU ESHWAR PRASAD

Alien Simulation is an abstract narration constructed with algorithmic audiovisual animation. While participating in a workshop, the artist visited a partially abandoned site strewn with sculptures of folk deities. The serene-spooky nature of these sculptures in that location triggered a (sci) fictional re-imagination of their origin and presence. KARTHIK KG

Xeno-real is informed by the hybridized aesthetic emergent in late 19th century India. In it, a silhouetted Kali figure (based on a lithograph printed by Calcutta Art Studio in that period), gently carries a collection of severed heads across the high desert of the South West United States. Her 'collection' consists of painted images of contemporary political protesters and fashion models sourced through internet searches and fashion photography. RANU MUKHERJEE


The Forest is a brooding work, full of metaphorical events, which the artist believes have universal resonance. The piece can be simply described as an open ended work about ‘rejuvenation’ in a period of confusion and strife. — RANBIR KALEKA

My Unpoetry is a set of abstract, minimal, sublime, funny, nonsensical, clever, monosyllables and one-liners, vernacular in nature. It also acts as parallel vocabulary where the script attains a visual form. In the process the artist has developed a language that aids her in the “desperate communication” she is trying to make with the world through social media, or so she says. MITHU SEN 40

Soyabean Biryani (for Junaid)... is a recipe laced with claims of development and togetherness, in the manner of radio stations we have known. This recitation proceeds amidst a poignant remembrance of young Junaid Khan, stabbed to death on a train, whose favourite food was soyabean biryani. VIDHA SAUMYA

Black Box is a tribute to pioneering photo journalist Homai Vyarawalla, (1913 – 2012), active from the 1940s till the 1970s. At the time, virtually no other women of the press were seen working with cameras. Homai witnessed several significant events connected with the Partition of India. The artist interviewed Homai quite spontaneously at her home in Vadodara in 2004 and later edited in her photographs. GARGI RAINA

The Jataka Trilogy video takes us to the revelatory 'Sights' that led to Siddharth's renunciation of the princely way of life, and adoption of asceticism. The artist suggests that through such acts, what we may renounce is our sensitivity. We inhabit mental spaces that are more and more impervious to reality. The boundaries of these spaces form our familiar cocoons that we refuse to leave. TUSHAR JOAG

L FOR... explores the nuances of the word LOVE by taking us on an expedition across the letters L, O, V, E. The video work L FOR... is the artist’s way of countering the present day despondency pervading our social environment and she seeks to create space for joy and playfulness to reclaim their place in our lives. L FOR... uses two performative formats, that of text animation and of that of live sign language. BHARATI KAPADIA


ANSHUMAN CHAKRABORTY is an artist and filmmaker based in New Delhi. After graduating in art history from Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan in 2003, he went into film making, specialising in screenplay writing and direction, from the Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata, graduating in 2007. Since then, he has acquired extensive screenplay writing and production experience in television. Alongside, he produces drawings, paintings and graphic novelettes. He says he prefers using manual over digital means in his work in the visual arts and in cinema. Ismail made in 2019, is Ashuman's first independent film. Composed from his hand-drawn images, it is about a migrant worker, living on the margins of an uncaring city. ANURADHA UPADHYAY is a painter, printmaker, performer and video artist based in Baroda. Her works investigate the changing notions of the ‘feminine’ within and outside of the discourse of feminism. Educated at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, she obtained a BFA in Painting in 2013 and MFA in Printmaking, 2015. She has been active in various residency programmes, in India and overseas including the BBK Gallery, Würzberg, Germany in 2014; Khoj Peers, New Delhi in 2016; Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa, 2016-17. Anuradha has a number of solo and group exhibitions to her credit, including ones held at Kiran Nadar Museum, Delhi, 2010-11; MOSA (Museum of Belgium), 2013; Ground, a group show at Baroda, 2019.


ARCHANA HANDE, an artist and curator, trained as a printmaker at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan (1991) and at Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda (1993). Archana works in a range of media including installation, drawing and video and has a wide repertoire of work to her credit. In 2000, she won the Charles Wallace India Trust Arts Award to participate in the Glasgow School of Arts Residency Program. Her work has been exhibited across India and the world at venues such as the Kunstmuseum Bern, Helsinki Art Museum, the Guangzhou Triennial, and the Yokohama Triennial. A selection of her recent shows: All is Fair in Magic White: Delhi, Rome, 2010; I am a Landscape Painter: Bombay, 2015; The Golden Feral Trail: Perth and Laverton, Australia, 2017. ATUL BHALLA is known for his sustained preoccupation with the eco-politics of water, a theme that forms the basis for his diverse practice. Over several years, he has drawn attention to issues such as the inequitable distribution of water, its regulation, commodification and pollution. In this process, Atul has explored the historical, spiritual and physical significance of water for the people of New Delhi, his home city. His personal negotiation of water provides a stage from which to address larger political issues concerning bodies of water and the urban environment, which he does in a poetic style of presentation. After doing his BFA from the College of Art, Delhi University, Atul did his Masters in Fine Arts from the School of Art, Northern Illinois University in the USA.

BV SURESH is caught up in questions of realism and representation, producing a body of work that continuously negotiates the visual fields of the contemporary world. His work draws on multiple realisms, raising questions of history and narration. He employs combinations of videos, paintings, installations, digital prints and even mass media images. A teacher of art and a practicing artist, Suresh was initially trained at the Ken School of Arts, Bengaluru. He later studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda and the Royal College of Art, London. He currently heads the Fine Arts Department at the Sarojini Naidu School, University of Hyderabad. Suresh enjoys collaborative projects with artists, authors of children’s books and theatre persons. BABU ESHWAR PRASAD has a deep interest in exploring a range of media, including sculpture, video and photography and in conducting workshops for art students. The focus of his current work is the urban space and the unplanned development taking place at an unprecedented pace, affecting us all as individuals. Babu received a BFA in Painting from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, Bangalore (1989), and his MFA in Graphics from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda (1992). Since 1996, he has held many solo and group exhibitions in India and abroad. Babu's first feature film Gaalibeeja (Wind Seed) has received critical acclaim at several film festivals in India and abroad, and he intends to make other video works in long and short formats.

BAPTIST COELHO received his post-graduate degree from the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, UK. His interdisciplinary projects deploy diverse media including installation, sculpture, video, sound, photography, collage and performance. Baptist is concerned with the history of war and conflict and its relation to everyday life. He would like to articulate unspoken stories of war and to draw meaning from the psychological and physical disruptions caused by war. Baptist brings together research from personal conversations and institutional knowledge, working through a process of archival and ethnographic research. He was awarded the Sovereign Asian Art Prize in 2016 and has exhibited in several art spaces in Europe and Asia. BHARATI KAPADIA has engaged with the visual arts for over four decades, consistently showing original work. Her media include painting, printmaking, collage, performance and video. Dealing with issues related to inner evolution, memory and identity, her techniques include light as a crucial element. She works on surfaces like cloth, paper, canvas, wood and metal. Based in Mumbai, she has shown widely in India and at international venues in New York, Boston, Nova Scotia, Vienna, Munich and Istanbul. She has participated in residencies in India, Spain and the United States. Bharati has designed art-related books, catalogues, posters and executed turnkey exhibition projects. She has curated art exhibitions and been a consultant to art collectors.


DARSHANA VORA is an artist working in moving image, site-specific installation and digital image genres. With a background in architecture, she has an interest in the architectonics of space and music, which she explores extensively in her work. Originally from Mumbai, she is based in London since 2009, where she works as Curator / Arts Administrator and Archivist at The Bhavan Centre. Darshana’s work has been exhibited at the Loft Gallery, Mumbai; Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai; National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai; British Council Gallery, Mumbai; Sans Tache Gallery, Mumbai; Lakeeren Art Gallery Mumbai; Novas Contemporary Urban Centre, London and Aicon Gallery, New York among others.

HETAL CHUDASAMA is a multidisciplinary visual artist, working in India and England. She trained in painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, and in New Media Art at the École des Beaux-Arts, Marseille, France. Hetal’s art practice is informed by her understanding of time and space as the fundamental tools that shape human consciousness. Hetal’s works exist between the physicality of space and its illusory stillness, against the perversity of passing time. She believe that space can only be experienced through the realm of time, and her work examines the complex dynamics of human behaviour in this context. Her paintings, performances and installations have been exhibited in India, France, Switzerland and the UK.

GARGI RAINA is a contemporary artist, concerned with the connection between the physical and the ethereal. She creates a sequence or a pattern of objects and images that represent her idea of stretching time – reflecting on changing times and society. Gargi says that working with this idea, seeing actions in slow motion, running them backwards and forwards in time, has been crucial to her recent work. She graduated in Fine Arts from the College of Arts, New Delhi (1985) and received a master’s degree in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (1988). Gargi has held solo shows in Mumbai, Bangalore, Baroda and New Delhi and participated in numerous group shows.

JAHANGIR JANI is a self-taught artist from Mumbai. Jahangir works with sculpture, installation, watercolour and video. He is known for his life size sculptures. He is concerned with the making of culture and the socio-political consequences of its propagation. He has been recognised for his work in the field of gender and sexuality diversity through his art practice. During the past three decades, he has exhibited widely in India and abroad. Film festivals in India, Sweden, France, USA, Canada, UK and Korea have shown his videos. He has held 17 solo shows and numerous group exhibitions, has been invited to national and international seminars, residencies and camps and a stint as a visiting lecturer at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris.


JEETIN RANGHER is a Bangalore-based multidisciplinary artist, who says his art is nurtured by his sensitivity to nature and social environments. Jeetin’s main concern has been human intrusion into the natural world. His works lean toward self-healing, transformation and creating change through sharing and connecting. Jeetin’s performances are critical reflections on our social, cultural as well as political behaviour. He works with different communities in conflict zones and does community art and workshops for special-needs children. Jeetin has participated in performances, festivals and multidisciplinary art projects in India and South Asia, including Serendipity Art Festival, Goa, Colombo Biennale and Jaipur Art Summit.

KHANDAKAR OHIDA is a Delhi-based art practitioner whose works explore questions of identity in the context of gender relations, social hierarchy and religious hegemony. Ohida’s practice includes varied media – drawings, paintings, installations, videos and performance art. She has participated in many state and national exhibitions, workshops and residencies including the Students Biennale at the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016, KIPAF (Kolkata International Performance Art Festival) 2016, and Ahang a traveling exhibition held in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi in 2019. She has done her BFA from the Government College of Art and Craft, Calcutta, 2016;and MFA from Faculty of Fine Arts, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, 2018.

KARTHIK KG aka Plastic Jellyfish, is a visual artist and researcher who engages with changing / moving / shifting phenomena that reflect technological abstractions. Toying with such ideas, his work takes the shape of algorithmic data visualisations, videos and sonifications, paper-foldings, drawings, games, posters, texts, among other outcomes. Karthik did an M Res in the Curatorial/Knowledge Programme at Goldsmiths College, University of London (2016) with a thesis titled Unique Identification and the Dividual. He holds an MA in Visual Arts from the Ambedkar University, New Delhi (2014). Earlier, he was a Systems Analyst at Tata Consultancy Services for six years at Chennai, for which he qualified with a BE from Anna University, Madurai (2005).

MANMEET DEVGUN is a Delhi-based performance artist. She uses poetry, photography and live performances to engage with issues linked to her own life and situations, foregrounding key feminist concerns. Using her body to communicate, her gestures and phrases strike a chord with audiences. Her concern is that we are facing the loss of multiple freedoms of choice, of what to say, what to eat, what to wear, whom to love, even whether to step out of our homes. She has exhibited her work as part of numerous group shows across Delhi, Vienna, Berlin and Madrid among other places. A poet, school teacher and a single mother, she says she loves to daydream and dance.


MEERA DEVIDAYAL says she is essentially an urban person, and her art is grounded in the images that the city throws up. She came to Mumbai in 1967 as a student at the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, had her first exhibition in 1975, and has been here since. For almost two decades, the idea of the city as a dream world has been central to her work. She has worked on ‘development’ (Dream-Home, 2003); the migrant (Tum Kab Aaoge, 2005); the home (Where I Live, 2009); the mills turning to malls (A Terrible Beauty, 2014). Recently she has reflected on the consequences of land reclamation in the age of global warming (Water Has Memory, 2018). Her narratives allude to aspiration, to tenacity and also to greed. MITHU SEN strives to explore and subvert hierarchical codes and rules. She makes particular reference to sexuality, language, experiences of marginalisation and the value of art objects. In the process, she challenges standards of social exchange, undermining the codes we have come to rely on. Her practice incorporates painting, poetry, moving images, sculptures, installations, sound montages, instructional exchanges and performances that demonstrate the restrictions placed on expressive capacities by language and social conventions. After her BFA (1995) and MFA (1997) from Kala Bhavan, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, she did a postgraduate program at the Glasgow School of Art (2001) on the Charles Wallace India Trust Award. Mithu lives in New Delhi.


MONALI MEHER has worked with her own body and emotions as a form of public expression since 1998. Over time, her visual language came to be built of elements like decay, matter and memory; hybridisation and transformation; creation of new identities; belonging and intimacy. Time is central to her practice, it is a medium, which is extended, assembled and captured, whether as a wrapped object or as a performance. The aspects of continuity, repetition, vulnerability, duration, temporality, awareness and public involvement are qualities that inform her art practice. Monali graduated in Fine Arts from the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art, Mumbai in 1990. From 2000 onwards she lived in Amsterdam but is currently based in Belgium working with performances, video, photography and installations. MUSKAAN SINGH graduated in fine art from Patna University (2014) and did her postgraduation from Shiv Nadar University (2018). After completing her studies, Muskaan has been drawn to experimentation with mixed media, installation art, and stop motion animation. She is acutely aware of the rules of the social framework of caste and property and tries to represent the effects of such pressures through juxtaposed narratives. She thinks about resistance to, and circumvention of, these norms. Muskaan says that humour and the vernacular idiom are her means to discuss complex political situations. She uses references specific to her village and culture to express socio-cultural encounters and political experiences in contemporary life.

NAVJOT ALTAF has been drawing and painting, doing photography, sculpture, video, installation, mixed-media and public art, in a career spanning four decades. Propelled by an engagement with the social and political realities of contemporary times, Navjot attempts to expand the interaction between artist and viewer, creating a cooperative dialectical conversation around works of art. Navjot studied Fine and Applied Arts at Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art in Mumbai, where she met artist Altaf Mohammedi. They married in 1972, sharing their political philosophy and a studio, till he passed away in 2005. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide. Currently, she divides her time between Mumbai and Bastar, working collaboratively with artisans. PARIBARTANA MOHANTY works across storytelling, painting, video, performance, writing and curation. While his art may be triggered by everyday experiences, it is primarily research-based, containing references to works of other artists and scholars. He is interested in ideas of simultaneity and multiplicity of events, which he explores through video and performance. Originally from Bhuvaneshwar, where he did his BFA in printmaking from Dhauli College of Art and Craft, he moved to Delhi, where he did an MA in History of Art from the National Museum Institute. Now living in Delhi, Paribartana is also part of the WALA collective with Akansha Rastogi and Sujit Mallik, engaged in public, community and site-specific art projects, public performances and guided tours of the city.

RANBIR KALEKA's work reflects a view of the world that is highly internalised and appears to rely on the juxtaposition of improbabilities. His video art has been an essential endeavour in his further exploration of the ‘psychological event’. Such events can take place through the use of light to create the image and the subsequent aura of the image. Ranbir has also created and exhibited constructed photographs, sculptures and installations. He studied at the College of Art in Chandigarh from 1970-75. He received a Masters Degree in Painting from the Royal College of Art in London in 1987. His work has been widely exhibited in India and abroad. RANU MUKHERJEE combines drawing, painting and print on fabric or paper, alongside video, animation and choreography, to make large scale installations. Her work is marked by a deliberate use of saturated colour, layering and fragmentation. Shifting visions of landscape and ecology, migrations and diaspora, female experience and feminism, are represented in her work, perhaps as representations of forces that can move society into the future. With a BFA in Painting and Filmmaking from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston in 1988, she did her Masters in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London in 1993. At present, she lives in San Francisco where she teaches at the California College of Arts.


SABA HASAN is a contemporary artist with a multimedia repertoire developed over two decades. Initially trained in social anthropology, her work is layered with nuanced undertones. Her art has been described as abstract and philosophical, exploring the realms of spirituality and human values. Saba has exhibited widely in India and internationally. She has shown in Paris, New York, Lisbon, Salzburg, Venice, Milan, Florence, Colombo and Singapore. She is a recipient of the Raza Award for painting in 2005 and international fellowships from Syracuse University, New York 1985; the George Keyt Art Foundation, 2002; the French Cultural Ministry, Paris 2006; the Oscar Kokoschka Academy, 2010 and Manhattan Graphics, New York 2016. SHAKUNTALA KULKARNI is a Mumbai based multidisciplinary artist, working since the 1980s. Her art practice can be described as an ongoing enquiry into the lives of urban women in the context of patriarchy. This quest takes her to the spaces related to women: home, work environments, cultural and social spaces. She looks at the different forms of discrimination and violence that women are forced to cope with. Shakuntala has addressed these issues and suggested the possibilities of dealing with them. Originally trained in mural painting and printmaking, her work has moved from flat surfaces into sculpture, performance and video. She also draws on theatre, using her own body as the site of contestation for addressing her concerns in her performance videos.


SHARMILA SAMANT works with a variety of forms such as installations, performance and photography. Globalisation, identity and consumer culture are central issues in Sharmila’s work. She has worked with activist groups and community organisations, engaging in collaborative and participatory art projects. Several works were made in association with the late Tushar Joag, with whom she had a family. Currently on the faculty of the Department of Art, Design and Performance at the Shiv Nadar University, she studied sculpture and later, Interior Design at the Sir J J School of Art. Sharmila’s installations and video works have been seen in prominent exhibitions in biennales, museums, artist-led spaces and alternative venues in India and abroad. SUMAKSHI SINGH is known for her performance, installation, painting and animation work. She plays on space-time theories and makes cultural, historic and physical critiques of place. She asks questions about permanence and transience, object and image, fact and illusion, mapping and displacement, perception and knowledge, while exposing the fragile set of givens upon which meanings are constructed. A graduate of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (2001), Sumakshi earned a second BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (2003), where she taught for five years. Her interactive installations, paintings, drawings and sculptures have been presented in solo and group exhibitions in India, China, USA, France, Italy and Switzerland.

SUREKHA is a visual artist based in Bengaluru. Her work has been a series of explorations through installations, video and photography for over two decades. Her projects investigate how visuality can engage with gender, ecological understanding and socio-political aesthetics, negotiating public and private spaces. Surekha studied visual arts at the Ken School of Arts, Bengaluru, graduating in 1990. She then went to VisvaBharati University for her Masters, completing it in 1992. Since 1996, she has had many solo shows in Indian and international galleries and museums in Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Australia. Surekha has participated in international art residencies, taught in art universities and has also been involved in several visual art collectives.

VEER MUNSHI was born in Srinagar, Kashmir and he grew to adulthood there. After graduating from Kashmir University (1976), he studied Fine Art at the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda (1981). He considers himself to be a displaced person, banished from his cherished homeland, Kashmir. Veer’s work seeks to highlight the constant turmoil within that comes from being dislocated from home and his images provoke viewers to reflect on forced migrations. Veer has shown solo in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Perth, Edinburgh and Geneva with installations, videos, paintings and photographs. He has also participated in over twenty group shows in India and abroad. Veer has been honoured with several public awards and fellowships by the Government of India.

TUSHAR JOAG (1966–2018), described himself as “a public interventionist artist who politicises his art and attempts to aestheticise politics.” He investigated the key geopolitical paradigms of his time, particularly economic liberalisation and movement of global capital, creating works of public art and curating exhibitions. He is remembered for his guerrilla-like performative actions in the public sphere in Mumbai. He partnered with Sharmila Samant in many of his endeavours. They had two children together and both taught at the Department of Art and Performance Art, Shiv Nadar University. Tushar mentored a wide range of young people, helping them to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery, creativity and imagination through art.

VIBHA GALHOTRA has been concerned with the dominant impact of human activity on the environment, and its often irreversible consequences. While she is known for her largescale sculptural installations, Vibha’s practice ranges across photography, film, video, found objects, performative objects, sculpture, installation, text, sound, drawing and public interventions. Her formal studies were in graphics at the Government College of Art, Chandigarh, (1999) and at Kala Bhavan, Visva-Bharati University (2001) in graphics. Vibha is the recipient of a number of fellowships and awards including the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship and the Rockefeller Grant at their Bellagio Center, 2016. She lives and works in Delhi. 49

VIDHA SAUMYA seeks visual interest in congregating bodies, notions of deformity and popular cultures. Critics have remarked on her sharp observation of the politics of the body and sexual tensions held within bodies and gestures. Vidha has a Master’s degree in Visual Culture & Contemporary Art from Aalto University, Helsinki (2018); went to Beaconhouse National University, Lahore (2008) for an independent study programme; has studied Visual Communication Design from Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Bengaluru (2008); and has a BFA in painting from Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy School of Art, Mumbai (2005). Vidha’s work has been seen in Lahore, Mumbai, Helsinki and Tampere. She is a co-founder of the Museum of Impossible Forms, Helsinki. VIDYA KAMAT holds a degree in fine arts and has a doctoral degree in comparative mythology. Her art practice articulates concerns regarding the conflicts arising when traditional society has to come to terms with contemporary urban society. Vidya questions traditional beliefs that justify violence against women. Her work has been shown in diverse national and international galleries and art fairs. Known for her research and documentation work, she is a founding member of the Centre for Study of Mythology and Culture, Goa. She is associated with the University of Mumbai as an adviser and research scholar in ancient Indian myth and culture. Vidya is the founder of the ‘Talking Myths Project’, an online archive.


VIJAY SEKHON is a multi-disciplinary artist, performer and storyteller. He creates site-specific works based on performance, video installation, drawing and painting. Vijay’s process is focused on understanding ourselves, our relationship with one another, the environment and the cosmos. Vijay has a MFA from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda and a second Masters in Interactive Telecommunications from the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. In a previous avatar, Vijay has worked with the Merchant Ivory team in feature film production. He does projects in the field of film and documentary making. From time to time, he teaches in centres like CEPT University, Ahmedabad and Kamla Raheja Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies.

Vibha Galhotra at Uttarayan, Vadodara. Photo: Bharati Kapadia 51



BHARATI KAPADIA has engaged with visual arts for over four decades, producing innovative work in painting, printmaking, collage, performance and video. She has curated several art exhibitions and been a consultant to art collectors. The VAICA festival emerged from Bharati’s desire to create a public platform for video art practiced by Indian artists, so that anyone interested in developments in contemporary art could gather to see and discuss these works.

AMRITA GUPTA SINGH is an art historian, researcher, and writer involved in art education, archiving and cultural management. As the Program Director of the Mohile Parikh Center for the Visual Arts since 2005, she has curated a wide range of seminars, scholarly talks, panels, workshops, exhibitions, film screenings, study groups and public art projects for diverse audiences. Currently, she runs V-IDEO: Ideas Worth Sharing, an online archive of short videos on Indian art.

CHANDITA MUKHERJEE is a documentary film maker. She has extensively explored the relationships between science, technology and society in her work. Working out of Comet Media Foundation, she has looked closely at a range of knowledge systems, produced films, brought out publications and organised knowledge festivals.

ANJALI MONTEIRO is known for her work in documentary film, jointly with K P Jayasankar. The theme of much of their work has been a problematising of notions of the self and the other, of normality and deviance, of the local and the global, through the exploration of diverse narratives and rituals. Anjali heads the School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and teaches documentary production and theoretical approaches to image making practices. V DIVAKAR is a critic and curator working in the intersections of art and society, based in Gujarat. He is the Resident Curator of Conflictorium, a participatory museum in Ahmedabad, designed to initiate dialogue on social conflict. He is the founder of Knots Arts Collective, is associated with the Mimesis Print Studio, both of Baroda. Divakar also edits a bi monthly called The Baroda Pamphlet and is also the editor of Desirepaths Publishers.




COMET MEDIA FOUNDATION is a non-profit organisation founded with the aim of building a space where creative persons could research and make meaningful educational communication materials on science, technology, culture and education, to foster social change and a sustainable future. The group creates learning experiences through interactive knowledge festivals, holding workshops, making films and forming partnerships with groups working in communities.

CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI MAHARAJ VASTU SANGRAHALAYA (CSMVS), Mumbai, formerly the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, is a cultural landmark of Mumbai city. Founded in the early 20th century, today it receives some 2,500 visitors daily, the number doubling on holidays. Going by the dictum “standing in the present while exploring the past, and thinking about the future”, its curators mount changing exhibitions and conduct exciting programmes to orient children to history and culture.

JEHANGIR NICHOLSON ART FOUNDATION (JNAF), draws on one of the richest private collections of art in India, some 800 works collected between 1968 and 2001, to promote the knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of modern and contemporary Indian art. The collection reflects the complexities, the vitality and crucial phases of development in modern Indian art history. The JNAF stimulates educational pursuits, research and intellectual inquiry drawing on this resource.

DEPARTMENT OF FINE ARTS, MAHARAJA SAYAJIRAO UNIVERSITY, BARODA is synonymous with modernist art practices and experimentation in India. The Faculty of Fine Arts was established at the time of the merger of the Baroda State with the Indian Union in 1949. Several of India’s best known and historically respected artists have their roots here. Many artists continue to live in the city after their studies, forming a lively community of the arts in Baroda.

KIRAN NADAR MUSEUM OF ART (KNMA) is a private museum exhibiting modern and contemporary works from India and the sub-continent, established at the initiative of art collector Kiran Nadar. The KNMA intends to exemplify the dynamic relationship between art and culture through its curatorial initiatives and exhibitions, school and college workshops, art appreciation discourses, symposiums and public programmes. It is focused on fostering a museum-going culture in India.

G5A FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY CULTURE, Mumbai, is a non-profit organisation, that supports contemporary art and culture, good governance, and sustainability. Based on the belief that art and culture have the power to ignite change for the better, it seeks to challenge people to think critically, creatively, and courageously. Through a series of diverse projects, G5A pursues their commitment to nurturing a vibrant, safe, and inclusive platform that encourages creative expression. THE GODREJ INDIA CULTURE LAB, Mumbai, is a fluid experimental space that seeks to cross-pollinate ideas and people to explore what it means to be a modern Indian. The Lab acts as a catalyst to challenge existing notions and encourages dialogue and experimentation. The team curates a wide range of imaginative cultural programmes – be it thematic pop-ups, film screenings, exhibitions or discussions – to expose people to diverse ways of thinking. 53

THE GOETHE-INSTITUT or MAX MUELLER BHAVAN, Mumbai is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany and has been working actively in the fields of art, cinema, theatre, dance and literature. It supports interdisciplinary programmes that promote exchange of cultural ideas. The institute offers German language courses, translation courses, has a library of research material on German culture and society, an auditorium and an art gallery. MUSEUM OF GOA (MOG), Pilerne, founded in 2015, seeks to bring contemporary art and local history to wide audiences in an attempt to celebrate Goa’s people and history. The Museum is envisioned as a laboratory of ideas where all forms of art are in constant dialogue with one another. MOG translates to ‘love’ in Konkani, and its activities are based on the belief that love and empathy are the tools to build the future. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF DESIGN, Ahmedabad or NID, was established due to the convergence of both global and local forces. In 1958, at the invitation of the Government of India, the eminent American designers Charles and Ray Eames recommended the setting up of an institute with a problem-solving design consciousness at its heart. Linking learning with experience they suggested that the designer could be a bridge between traditional crafts and modern society. Set up in 1961 at Ahmedabad, six decades later, the NID is internationally known as one of the finest educational and research institutions for Industrial Design, Communication, Textile and IT Integrated (Experiential) Design.

We are grateful to all our seven partner organisations who so hospitably opened their cultural spaces and invited their local audiences for the VAICA events from 2nd November 2019 to 23rd February, 2020. 54

Image: Tana by Navjot Altaf 55


Back Cover Image: Dekhasona | Khandakar Ohida 57