Redefining Freedom: Can Art Activism Change the World?

Visual Arts
Panel Discussion
Tuesday, 20th September 2016
From 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (IST)


Curator, Cultural Theorist and Jury Member of the 56th Venice Biennale, Ranjit Hoskote in conversation with ​ Curator, Cultural Theorist and Joint Artistic Director of the 9th Gwangju Biennale Nancy Adajania together will seek to engage with the question of political art: how it takes shape at the border between the art world and the larger public sphere, and how it sometimes goes out into the public sphere and takes its chances.

Artists have increasingly questioned what constitutes ‘citizenship’ and ‘participation’ and pressing for a transformation of the social frameworks, political systems and cultural institutions that define our collective being. This episode will historicise the relationship between art and activism across the 20th century, in an international context. This episode will also examine how artists help to create a new sense of the commons, by addressing the vacuum left behind by the deficits of representational democracy and the divisions produced by emerging illiberal demagogueries.

Artists are concerning themselves with the subaltern, the dispossessed, the disenfranchised, often developing strategies of intervention that focus on agency, equity and freedom. Can the artist-as-citizen, the artist-as-activist change the world?

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Ranjit Hoskote

Ranjit Hoskote

Cultural theorist, Curator and Poet

Ranjit Hostoke is a cultural theorist, curator and poet. He is the author of more than 25 books, including Vanishing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1985-2005 (Penguin, 2006) and Central Time (Penguin/ Viking, 2014), and the monographs Zinny & Maidagan: Compartment/ Das Abteil (Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/ Walther König, 2010) and Atul Dodiya (Prestel, 2014). Hoskote has translated the poetry of the 14th-century Kashmiri mystic Lal Ded as I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded (Penguin Classics, 2011). With Ilija Trojanow, he has co-authored Kampfabsage (Blessing, 2007; in English as Confluences: Forgotten Histories from East and West, Yoda, 2012). With Nancy Adajania, he is co-author of The Dialogues Series (Popular, 2011), an unfolding programme of conversations with artists. With Maria Hlavajova, he is editor of Future Publics: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art (BAK, forthcoming). Since 1993, Hoskote has curated 30 exhibitions of contemporary art, including two monographic surveys of Atul Dodiya (Bombay: Labyrinth/ Laboratory, Japan Foundation, Tokyo, 2001; and Experiments with Truth: Atul Dodiya, Works 1981-2013, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, 2013), a lifetime retrospective of Jehangir Sabavala (National Gallery of Modern Art, Bombay and New Delhi, 2005-2006), a historical survey of Indian abstraction, Nothing is Absolute (with Mehlli Gobhai; CSMVS/ The Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay, 2013), and a survey of 150 years of art by Parsi artists within the narrative of an emergent Indian modernism, No Parsi is an Island (with Nancy Adajania; National Gallery of Modern Art, Bombay, 2013-2014). Over 2000-2002, Hoskote co-curated the trans-Asian collaborative project, ‘Under Construction’ (Japan Foundation: Tokyo and other Asian centres). Hoskote co-curated the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008) He was curator of India’s first-ever national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2011). And a jury Member of the 56th Venice Biennale.

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Nancy Adajania

Nancy Adajania

Curator , Cultural theorist and Jint artist Director

Nancy Adajania is a cultural theorist and curator based in Bombay. She is the author of The Thirteenth Place: Positionality as Critique in the Art of Navjot Altaf (The Guild, 2016) and contributor to the multi-author monograph on Sheba Chhachhi, Arc Silt Dive (Tulika, 2016). Over the last two decades, Adajania has analysed the relationship between art and politics by melding an art historical perspective with a politics of culture approach. She was Joint Artistic Director of the 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012) and has curated a number of exhibitions including, most recently, 'No Parsi is an Island' at the NGMA, Delhi (2016) and a cycle of video art for 'Sights and Sounds: Global Film and Video' at the Jewish Museum, New York (2015). In 2013 and 2014, Adajania taught the curatorial practice course at the Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts. She was research scholar-in-residence at BAK/ basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2010 and 2013. Adajania has proposed several new theoretical models through her extensive writings on media art, public art, the biennial culture, transcultural art practices, and the relationship of art to the public sphere. She has written consistently on the practices of four generations of Indian women artists.

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Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan
Goethe-Institut Max Mueller Bhavan

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016 Mumbai Mirror
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