Kommune India and Avid Learning present the third episode of Art Redefined Today (A. R. T.) 2020 as a part of a specially curated virtual week – A. R. T. 2020: New Paradigms in Education, Creation and Identity. This thematic week will explore the future trajectories of art, the evolution of the discipline and the various trends that are emerging within the space as related to educational curricula, artist residencies and art-making. Artist and Activist Durga Gawde, Visual Artist Rithika Merchant and Artistic Director, St+art India Foundation Hanif Kureshi will be in conversation with Curator Veeranganakumari Solanki. These speakers will examine how artists engage with the intangible concept of identity and have a hand in the process of cultural and personal self-questioning, redefinition and self-assertion. Join us to learn about how innovations in art help us – as individuals, cultures, communities, races and even as a species – to re-examine and redefine the concept of identity.
Durga Gawde is a sculptor, Educator, Activist and India's first performing drag king. Durga graduated with a BFA in Sculpture from The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2015. Durga has been a teaching fellow with Urbanframe, an organisation run out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge and has also been a visiting faculty member at ISDI Parson's, Mumbai. Durga has given various talks and lectures throughout the country about art, design, technology and identity. Being a genderfluid person, Durga felt compelled to be an activist and educate the masses about the presence of various non-binary identities in the world. Durga's work, thoughts and intentions have been published in numerous publications like Art India, Architectural Digest, Vogue, GQ, Femina, Harper's Bazzar, Elle Decor, Homegrown to name a few. Durga was part of the Grazia magazine ‘Cool list 2018’, and on the digital cover of Vogue India Sept 2019. Durga has collaborated with online video platforms like Vice and Vitamin Stree to spread their message: ' Humanity should bind us and our differences should be viewed as things that give us character and not be used against us to marginalise and discriminate.' Durga is involved in the modelling world (usually cast as themself), they believe that by being themself in front of the camera, they can influence a lot of minds to look at and challenge various beauty standards. Fashion is expression, and gender expression is a big part of Durga's life. Durga featured with the designer label 'Bobo Calcutta' in Lakme fashion week, 2018. Durga started to experiment with gender identity through drag and performance art. Their drag alter ego is called 'Shakti' and is the first performing drag king in India. Durga's practice uses various mediums to express and inspire but the string that binds all that they do is being true to oneself and working from a place of love.Read more
Rithika Merchant (b. 1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons – The New School of Design, New York (2008). Since graduating, she has exhibited her work extensively, including a number of solo exhibitions in India, Spain, Germany, France and the United States. Her most recent solo shows include, Mirror of the Mind at Galerie L.J, Paris, France (2019); Where the Water Takes us at TARQ, Mumbai (2017) and Ancestral Home at Galeria Bien Cuadrado, Barcelona (2017). Her recent group exhibitions include a two-person show Osmosis at TARQ, Mumbai, curated by Shaleen Wadhwana (2019); Spring! A Group Show of Contemporary Drawing at Galerie LJ, Paris (2019) and Chloe Couture at the National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kieve, Ukraine (2019). She has also collaborated with Chloé, a French fashion house on multiple collections for which she was awarded the Vogue India Young Achiever of the Year Award at its Women of the Year Awards 2018. She was also named one of Vogue Magazine’s Vogue World 100 Creative Voices. She currently divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.Read more
Hanif Kureshi is Artist Director at St+art India Foundation. An artist and a designer working with Street Art and typography, Hanif absorbs the surroundings into his works and evokes a sense of memory grabbing the attention of the viewers. He has an ironic and sarcastic approach, working in multiple mediums combining into a single composition. His ongoing project, hand-painted type, attempts to conserve and archive the vernacular street typography of India, which he felt is a characteristic medium of Indian traditions seeming to be lost. Hanif is also the co-founder of St+art India Foundation which aims to make art accessible to a larger audience through the series of Street Art festivals. His work has been exhibited at the London Design Biennale, Venice Biennale, Centre Pompidou Paris, Triennale Design Museum, Milan, Sikka Art Fair Dubai among others. In 2016, GQ magazine named Hanif as one of the 50 most influential young Indians.Read more
Veeranganakumari Solanki is an independent curator and writer. Her research interest lies in the manner in which images are used and interpreted, ways in which interdisciplinary forms and art merge to create dialogues that travel from public spaces into private ones and the way curatorial research can be structured around artistic practices that expand the ideas of medium specificity through story-telling. Her curatorial projects have primarily focused on South-Asian art practices. She was the 2019 Brooks International Research Fellow at Tate Modern in the curatorial and photography department and a resident at the Delfina Foundation. Veerangana is currently based in India. She has contributed papers and articles to several international art journals and publications. She has curated exhibitions, lectured on curating and art practices, and conducted workshops internationally at institutes and galleries such as the Siddhartha Art Foundation, Kathmandu; the Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh; the Asian Contemporary Art Conference, Taipei; Icastica, Arezzo; Academia di Belle Arte, Florence; Casa Masaccio, San Giovanni Valdarno; NGMA, Mumbai and Bengaluru; Space Studio, Baroda; Tarq, Mumbai; Goldsmiths, University of London; and Tate Modern, London among others. She has also served as the Programme Director at Space Studio, Baroda, the curator of the 2017 Kathmandu Triennale symposium and the Photo Kathmandu Residency 2018, and is on the advisory board of the 2020 Kathmandu Triennale.Read more