The Kochi Biennale Foundation, in association with the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) and the Foundation for Indian Art and Education (FIAE) has developed the Students’ Biennale – an exhibitory platform which runs parallel to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. A part of the Foundation’s educational initiatives, the Students’ Biennale reaches out to art colleges across South Asia, to encourage young artists to reflect on their practice and exhibit on an international stage. The initiative is thus invested in using the potential of a global biennale platform to energise art schools and art production.
STUDENTS’ BIENNALE 2018
Students’ Biennale this year involves a multilateral approach, featuring an exhibition, an expanded education forum, and field-based research on the condition of art education as it stands. A full list of participating student-artists is available here.
The Exhibition Platform (click here for a map of the venues) is led by a team of six curators, driven through an open call for applications from art students to activate ideas around ‘Making as Thinking’. Kochi Biennale Foundation has provided production support for selected projects and artworks by Indian students, and expanded its scope to include the participation of students from other SAARC countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. The exhibition includes some 109 projects by 200 student-artists, and is on view from 13 December, 2018 – 29 March, 2019.
The Expanded Education Programme is the other key initiative of Students’ Biennale. Facilitated by Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA), it is envisioned as a series of engagements with students and teachers to identify existing frameworks of learning across art colleges in India and to imagine new directions in pedagogical practices within and around these institutions.
The Expanded Education Programme brings together experienced artist-educators who will develop and offer a series of week-long workshops at select arts colleges across the country exploring the varied climates under which art production and pedagogy is being undertaken.
With a focus on art history, intermedia, technology, critical theory, public art, architecture and the city, and curation, these workshops emerge from the expertise of the educator team who have spent many years developing their teaching strategies and will engage the students in process-intensive, practice-based learning.
The workshops will respond to local contexts and forms of knowledge that is accumulated into the fabric of different art colleges, acknowledge and attempt to engage with the larger intellectual community that exists around art colleges, and tackle challenges like limited resources, institutional norms and geography that greatly determine the functioning of these spaces.
Working alongside the educators will be a team of researchers who will support the process by documenting and compiling reports on these workshop modules. These findings will make their way into the publication so as to leave behind a collated and reflective summary of the process undertaken, some of which might offer possible directions art education can take in the Indian context in the 21st century.
We will also work towards an art education conference towards the end of the Biennale to continue these vital discussions on the future of art education with a distinguished group of pedagogues and artists.
Sanchayan Ghosh received his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1997 from Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, and currently works as an Associate Professor, Department of Painting, Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan.
Ghosh has worked extensively with site-specific art and contemporary theatre, exhibiting widely over the last 15 years. His practise also includes community-based workshops and performances. His participatory performance Circle Walk was part of a programme in Documenta 14 (2017). He has also shown in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2012), Frieze Art Fair, London (2010), and Nature Morte, Delhi (2014), to name a few.
KRISHNAPRIYA C P
Krishnapriya C P is a practicing visual artist based in Chennai. She completed her Masters from the Govt. College of Fine Arts, Chennai. Her work is multidisciplinary in nature; she uses paintings, drawings, collage, found objects and sculptural installations to engage with her concerns. The works primarily deal with the self and its relationship with its environment. History and local political discourses are also woven into the narratives she engages with.
She is interested in understanding the process of art pedagogy. Her other interests are contemporary art practices, theatre, postcolonial and environmental studies. She has been part of numerous art exhibitions and art camps. She is also part of art collectives and groups based in Chennai. She was awarded Tata Trusts Students’ Biennale International Award for Curation, 2016-17. She was a resident artist at University of Pennsylvania, 2017, sponsored by the South Asia Centre, UPenn.
Shukla Sawant is a visual artist and Professor of Visual Studies, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi where she has taught since 2001. She is also currently visiting faculty at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai. Prior to joining JNU, Shukla Sawant taught for twelve years at the Department of Fine Arts and Art Education Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi. After graduating in painting from the College of Art, New Delhi she specialized in printmaking at the École Nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and later went to the Slade School of Art and Center for Theoretical Studies, London on a Commonwealth grant. Her research interests include Modern and Contemporary Art, Art in Colonial India, Photography, Printmaking and New Media.
K P REJI
K P Reji was born in 1972, Kerala. Reji received his Masters in Fine Arts – Painting from MSU, Baroda in 2000. He continues to work in the medium, and has exhibited widely including a solo show at Nature Morte, Delhi in 2009, and Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013. He also exhibited in the first Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2012.
M P NISHAD
M P Nishad is an artist who lives and works in Kerala. He received his MFA in sculpture from MSU, Baroda in 2003. He works largely with painting and paper.
In 2010, he won the Kerala Lalit Kala Akademi Award. His last solo show Reckoning Resonances, was at NCPA, Mumbai, in 2007. A year before, he exhibited at Gallery SKE in Bangalore.
B V SURESH
B V Suresh was born in Bangalore and studied painting at Ken School of Art in Bangalore (1978) and completed his diploma and post-diploma at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda, in 1985. He later went on to do an MA in painting at the Royal College of Art, London, on an Inlaks Scholarship where he studied under Peter De Francia and Ken Kiff (1987). A larger version of the installation on display was shown as part of his solo exhibition Khamoshi ki Dastaan /Chronicles of Silence in Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi and Sumukha Gallery, Bangalore in 2016. Earlier solo exhibitions have been held at Vadehra Art Gallery (2006), Gallery Chemould, Mumbai (1998) among others. His artistic life extends beyond studio practice into teaching, theatre design and children’s book illustration. BV Suresh taught between 1992 and 2017 at the Painting Department, Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda and is presently faculty at the Fine Arts Department, S.N. School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad. He has also been visiting faculty at Ambedkar University Delhi and CAVA, Mysore.
Kausik Mukhopadhyay born in 1960 and completed his BVA at Rabindra Bharati University Kolkata in 1986 and MFA at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal in 1989. His one man show includes Squeeze Lime In Your Eye at Chatterjee and Lal, Mumbai (2017) and Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life, held jointly at Pundole Art Gallery and The Guild Art Gallery in 2009. Other participations include Making/ Unmaking Objects, Vadehra, New Delhi, 2007, Reverse Depth, Tamarind Arts, New York, 2006 Edge of Desire, Perth, Australia, 2004, Century City – Art and Culture in the Metropolis, Tate Modern, London, 2001, Collaborative Space, Collaborative Work with Tushar Joag, 1997. He has held fellowships at the Kanoria Centre for Art, CEPT, Ahmedabad and the Inlaks Foundation. He has been teaching at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environment Studies since 1996, for 22 years.
Mriganka Madhukaillya, since 2005 is an Assistant Professor, in the Design Department at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India. He co-founded Desire Machine Collective in 2004 with Sonal Jain. Assuming their name and theoretical disposition from Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, by French Deleuze and Guattari, Desire Machine Collective seeks to disrupt the neurotic symptoms that arise from constricting capitalist structures with healthier, schizophrenic cultural flows of desire and information. They employ film, video, photography, and multimedia installation in their works.
In 2007 he co-initiated Periferry, an alternative artist-led space situated on the M. V. Chandardinga, a ferry docked on the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati.
He also founded the Media Lab as an interdisciplinary centre within Department of Design for experiments with digital forms of design and learning. The main focus is on film, video, audio, new media, digital culture and technology. The outcome of projects is often not defined before they are started.They allow for tinkering, sites of non-formal learning practices, where learning by doing is stimulated. The purpose is to promote the creative use of new technologies by providing a collaborative environment for research and experimentation at the intersection of art, technology and culture.
Santhosh Sadanandan teaches at the School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University, Delhi. He works towards a critical historiography of Indian art and cultural practices, and along with art history has interests in media, cinema and literary theory, urban studies and postcolonial theory. His research has explored the role of categories of caste and gender in the structuration of artistic production. He is co-editor with Vidya Shivadas, Sneha Ragavan and Sabih Ahmed of Dossier One: Fictional Configurations, New Delhi: Asia Art Archive (2017) and forthcoming Dossiers Two and Three (2017). He has several articles and essays on the question of dalit politics, technologies of fascism, the city as metaphor, minoritarian aesthetics and politics, art and resistance.
Sarada Natarajan is an art historian currently based in Hyderabad. She did her masters and Ph.D. in art history from M.S. University of Baroda and recently completed a postdoctoral stint with Forum TransregionaleStudien and Humboldt University, Berlin. Sarada has 14 years of experience teaching art history and theory to practicing artists and to students of theatre at the University of Hyderabad. She helped formulate the art history syllabus for the upcoming Fine Art Department at Shiv Nadar University, Dadri and taught courses there for three years. Sarada illustrates and writes for children. She is a trained Carnatic vocalist and experiments with music and movement for theatre. Her research interests include ancient and medieval Indian sculpture and iconography, art historiography, art history pedagogy and adopting new materialist approaches to understand art practices from the past.
Thamotharampillai Shanaathanan is a visual artist living and working in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. ). He is also an art educator and co-founder of the Sri Lanka Archive of Contemporary Art, Architecture, and Design (SLAAD). His work has been exhibited widely in Sri Lanka and at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Vancouver; Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane; Museum of Ethnology, Vienna; Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi; among others. His artist books include The One Year Drawing Project, The Incomplete Thombu, and A–Z of Conflict (forthcoming). He holds a degree in painting from the University of Delhi and a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Art History, Department of Fine Arts, Jaffna University and advisor on Sri Lanka’s national curriculum for teaching art in schools.
Federica Martini, PhD, is an art historian and curator. She is dean of Visual Arts at the Ecolecantonale d’art du Valais (ECAV). Previously, she was Head of the MAPS Master program at ECAV, and a member of the curatorial departments of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, MuséeJenischVevey, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts/Lausanne and the Festival des Urbaines. In 2015-16 she was a research fellow at the IstitutoSvizzero di Roma. Together with Patrick de Rham and Elise Lammer she initiated the Museum of Post-Digital Cultures (2012). Recent publications include: Blackout Magazine: Art Labour and Olivetti poesiaconcreta (2018, with C. Nüssli): My PhD is my art practice. Notes on the Art PhD in Switzerland (2017, with P. Gisler); Vedialla voce: traversare (2016, Traces); Publishing Artistic Research (SARN, 2014, with B. Drabble); Open Source and Artistic Research (SARN, 2014, with B. Drabble); Tourists Like Us: Critical Tourism and Contemporary Art (with V. Mickelkevicius, 2013); Pavilions/Art in Architecture (2013, Bruxelles: La Muette); Just Another Exhibition: Stories and Politics of Biennials (2011, Milan: postmediabooks).
Dr. Igal Myrtenbaum is a composer, lecturer and educator. His work and passion ranges from synchronizing sounds to studying the many ways of human synchronization, through learning communities and multi-cultural environments. Composing both electronic and music for acoustic instruments, his projects and works are performed in Europe, USA, South America, Japan and Israel. His workshops and clinics mostly deal with emergent properties as manifested in natural phenomenae and artistic expression, often aided by digital tools. He is a co-founder of the Music Technology Studies at the Bar-Ilan University and has been researching and developing tools for music educators at the Levinsky College of Education. Among the cultural projects led by him are the `Izozo` (Yangareko foundation, Bolivia) dedicated to the cultural preservation and empowerment of the Guarani indigenous community in the Bolivian Chaco, and `Adika shel Maala` – an onsite musical interpretation of community gardens (Jerusalem). His lectures and workshops (Sapienza University, Rome, Italy; Tel Aviv University, Israel; San Gabriel Moreno, Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India; Seminário Frei Galvão, Guaratinguetá, Brasil) inspired artists from multiple backgrounds and led to an ongoing research project focused on innovative learning methods entitled `Analog Networks`
RangoatoHlasane is a cultural worker, DJ, educator and co-founder of Keleketla! Library in Johannesburg. He holds a masters degree in Visual Art from the University of Johannesburg and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand.
As MmaTseleng, he plays music to expand his research into the social, political and economic significance of South African music, with Kwaito at the centre of his work. He has presented sonic lectures at events such as the Under the Mango Tree gathering of documenta 14 (2017), Kassel, The World Show on Kaya FM (2017), Johannesburg, Year After Zero conference (2013), Berlin, the Someone who knows something, and Someone who know something else: Education and Equality symposium of the 9th Bienal do Mercosul (2013), Porto Alegre and more. His ongoing project, Thath’i Cover Okestra, co-curated with MaloseMalahlela, is an experiment in ‘writing’ (South) African music histories and rerouting their family trees, most recently presented at the 10th Berlin Bienalle of Contemporary Art.
Rangoato is committed to ‘art/s education’ with a social justice agenda. Publishing reflective case studies of decolonial education is important, evident in the publication of two Keleketla! Library books titled 56 Years to the Treason Trial: Intergenerational Dialogue as a tool for Learning (2012) and the revision, 56 Years to the Treason Trial: Intergenerational Dialogue as a tool for Learning (2014). Rangoato was invited as a guest author with MaloseMalahlela for the 2014 book Creating Spaces: Non-formal Art/s Education and Vocational Training for Artists in Africa Between Cultural Policies and Cultural Funding by Nicola Laure Al-Samarai. He contributed a reflective, multi-authored case study of Keleketla! Library in the Brazil-based journal, Mesa (No3: Publicness in Art, 2015). Most recent publication is a contributions to aneducation (2018), a publication emerging out of the education program of documenta 14 and Meditations on Thath’i Cover Okestra and Kwaito (2018), a compendium of texts forming part of a a vinyl release of Thath’i Cover Okestra Vol. 5. Rangoato is an active member of ARAC (Another Roadmap Africa Cluster).
KARTHIK K G
Karthik KG is an artist and researcher, whose practice is driven by his deep interest in abstractions and questions of technology.
He completed his M.Res. in Curatorial/Knowledge from Goldsmiths, University of London as a FICA Inlaks Goldsmiths Scholar [2015-16] and holds M.A. in Visual Arts from the Ambedkar University, New Delhi  and B.E. in Electrical and Electronics from KLN College of Engineering, Anna University, Madurai . He worked as System Analyst and Team Coordinator at Tata Consultancy Services, Chennai [2005-2011]. Participation include collaborative proposal exhibited as part of INSERT2014, IGNCA, New Delhi , Group show Identity Control, at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi , Pepper House Residency Show, Kochi Muziris Biennale . Karthik has co-curated, with three other artists (Aruna, Aryan, Shivangi) as juggleheads exhibitions like stutter in your eloquence, at BC Gallery, Mattenchery, Kochi  and stutter in your eloquence (2), at Ambedkar University, Delhi . He has also participated in live Sound acts on a few occasions like Disquiet, at Bakheda, New Delhi . He currently teaches digital art at Ambedkar University, Delhi.
Bhooma Padmanabhan is a visual arts professional with experience in curation, programming, research, and art education. As a curator she has put together several exhibitions featuring exciting emerging artists in India, and most recently curated an exhibition on Indian photography in collaboration with Nazar Foundation. Outreach and programming have been key areas of functioning while working at The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) in the last decade. Bhooma’s interest lies in working closely with artists to develop projects, through the sharing of resources and knowledge, that thread the line between art making, public engagement and education. Bhooma is currently located in Chennai, India.
Vidya Shivadas is a curator and director of the not-for-profit Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA). Vidya has curated a number of exhibitions at the Vadehra Art Gallery since 2002 apart from exhibitions at museums like Devi Art Foundation (2009), Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (2013), Edinburgh Art Festival (2014) and Serendipity Arts Festival (2017). Most recently in 2018 she was invited by Kunstsammlung NRW and Goethe Institut in Dusseldorf to participate in a residency programme for international curators at the museum.
Shivadas has been Adjunct Faculty at School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University Delhi since 2013 and visiting faculty for the Post Graduate Diploma in Modern & Contemporary Indian Art & Curatorial Studies at Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai (2012 -2017). For both 2014 and 2016 editions of Students’ Biennale, she worked in the capacity of Curatorial Consultant, mentoring the curatorial teams.